In the changing landscape of digital research and open access, the roles of technical services librarians are expected to be more creative than traditional cataloging and simple metadata creation. One of the possible new roles is supporting digital humanities research by organizing, managing, and providing access to data sets via metadata creation and management.
Traditionally, catalog records for print materials created by technical services librarians have helped searching, retrieving, and identifying resources and organizing information by using controlled vocabularies. Metadata does the same or more for digital materials (resources and projects) in the digital tools and linked data environment. Metadata is important in making digital humanity research more discoverable and accessible. For geospatial resources, there are different metadata standards available, but no one standard can cover all materials. Some specialized projects may need experienced technical services librarians’ help for creating effective metadata. Historical maps are unique in that they may not necessarily fit into regular geospatial metadata standards well and this is where technical services librarians can utilize their knowledge and experience. As a case study, I created a mock digital map project that compares Japanese historical maps by using digital humanities tools to show how technical services librarians can play an important role in digital humanities research.
This research aims to examine the functional requirements of metadata services for digital humanities research by analyzing a GIS project involving Japanese historical maps. By exploring some metadata solutions, the research intends to demonstrate the role of controlled vocabulary as a means to improving the access to and usability of spatial data, and the various possibilities that arise from a collaborative approach when creating metadata for digital humanities projects.