Revision: Metadata


Now that you are familiar with how metadata works, you can start to consider how it can be used in history. Choosing 3 of the 4 readings for this week, you will create 15-20 metadata for these articles and show how your metadata overlap. You will then write one paragraph about why your metadata is the offers the best tags for finding and navigating the articles you’ve chosen.

Learning goals

  1. Students will demonstrate understanding of ancient water management techniques through the creation of relevant metadata.
  2. Students will show how metadata overlap across historical scholarship.


For this assignment you are creating a venn diagram with overlapping cirlces. Each circle is a a cluster of metadata you’ve chosen for that article.

  • Chose 5-8 metadata for each article. Your metadata should not be included in the article title.
  • Your metadata should allow someone searching for the respective article to find it without know the author or title of the article.
  • 3-5 of your metadata from one article should also be shared with another article. You do not need to have any metadata that are shared by all three articles.
  • Your Venn diagram can be with any shapes (circles, squares, triagnles) or you can just list metadata that are uniqure and metadata that are shared. The key is to make the overlaps in your metadata very clear to any reader.


Why do you think your metadata are the strongest metadata (tag) list for finding these articles? Why did you choose to exclude other terms? Would more metadata have been better (more than 20) or might there be negative search consequence for too many metadata?


A student asked for an example. The following metadata are for three hypothetical articles.

| water | water | water |
| urban planning | urban planning | urban planning |
| irrigation | dredging | brewing |
| salinization | drilling | distillation |
| mound building | dam creation | water purification |

I believe my metadata are the best for finding my respective articles because these tags focus on processes that relate to water. Of the obvious metadata categories (people, places, things, ideas, events), I chose processes as a type of idea. I think that most researchers would be able to find the articles based on common search metadata, such as people and places, but the processes for accessing and using water might not be obvious when searching for my articles. All of the articles included water and urban planning topics, so those metadata overlap. But, agriculture, dam creation, and alcohol creation have very different processes. By focusing on the action that took place by historical actors in my metadata, I am foregrounding the how of the past at the expense of the what or why.