To follow our last post on Metadata Requirements for Permanent Records on Shared Drives, today we are discussing how to manage metadata for permanent records stored separately from the records.
Required metadata, as specified in NARA Bulletin 2015-04, must have the same retention and disposition as the records they describe whether maintained in a separate system, records management application, or case management system. Metadata must be captured and managed throughout the lifecycle of records and accompany the records at the time of transfer.
Some applications and file formats store metadata within the file in a structured manner or allow the referencing of standardized schemes, such as Adobe XMP or the XML metadata boxes in the JPEG 2000 format. Otherwise, most metadata will reside in external databases, systems, or registries. Usually a unique identifier or the image filename is used to link metadata in an external system to image files in a directory.
Maintaining metadata in a separate system such as a database provides more flexibility for management, use, and transformation. Other benefits include support for multi-user access to the data, advanced indexing, sorting, filtering, and querying. Metadata maintained externally may accommodate hierarchical descriptive and structural information about multi-page or complex objects, and facilitates importing, exporting, and harvesting of data to external systems or other formats, such as XML.