Each January, millions of people take the turning of the new year as a time to reflect on the past and try to improve their behavior through resolutions. These commitments often come in the form of breaking old habits and forming new, improved habits in the coming year. 2020 was a challenging year for everyone and within the information industry, we too can look for ways to form better habits with our data decisions that will make 2021 and the time following better for each other and ourselves. Here are three basic New Year’s resolutions for metadata management to think about as we charge into the new year:

1. ”Watch what you eat”:

“You are what you eat” is a phrase we all have heard applied to our health but can be applied to data just as well. The first resolution for 2021 that can help you right away is to begin looking at how you consume data. The metadata world is filled with metadata problems and having a plan is an asset that will reap long term benefits in all other areas of your business. A healthy diet of persistent identifiers, enriched data with authority sources and consistent validations across systems are key to identify, correct and manage those problems as they enter your systems .

2. Get back in shape:

Being in shape can improve many aspects of your life and as someone in the metadata industry, the same is true about your data. The second metadata resolution you can make for 2021 is to get your data in shape. A change in perspective is an important exercise in making improvements. Investments in data quality must be viewed as a strategic goal within organizations in order to be successful as doing this is not a one-time effort. A commitment to change here requires an ongoing investment and working out best practices to improve methods and quality checks used to create and transmit your data. Any improvement to getting your data back in shape is a great step on the path to better metadata health in 2021 and beyond.

3. Get involved within your community:

COVID-19 has demonstrated, possibly more than ever before, that we are a global community and that the sharing of information is critical to furthering research and medicine. A third resolution for metadata professionals in 2021 is to consider your place in the knowledge supply chain and to get involved, not only internally, but externally as well. By understanding how the data you consume and create will be accessed by others in that chain, you can work to ensure that your data aligns with community principles such as FAIR which has a goal of making data Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable for everyone.

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Author: David Schott

David Schott is the Senior Manager of Data Engineering at Copyright Clearance Center and has been working with bibliographic metadata for over 15 years. He has held roles related to building data systems supporting transformation, normalization and large-scale data augmentation. During his career, David has also led many business efforts in analyzing how emerging publishing industry trends manifest in technical workflows, data formats and bibliographic standards.
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