Tutor profile: Richard L.
What steps should one take before beginning to write something for professional purposes?
Exhaustive preparation before writing is the best way to guarantee a precise, thorough, and efficient finished work. The more time one can spend researching, reflecting, and planning the better. All types of writing may also be significantly improved by judicious checking of spelling and grammar, copy editing, solicitation of feedback, etc.
Subject: Library and Information Science
How much effort should archivists spend on researching the contents of a given item, in hopes of better describing it?
Items that are not fully described - whether because of lack of expertise by the individual cataloger, lack of documentation by the institution, lack of information available about an item, etc. - are very unlikely to be found. Catalogers should perform as much research as their circumstances allow, when considering the importance of the collection and the backlogs of undescribed items they hope to ultimately improve.
Subject: Data Science
What pieces of information will best allow researchers to use an archival collection online? Looking through boxes and folders of paper is very different than navigating through individual items within a digital library, of course.
Metadata creators would be advised to think in terms of The Five Ws : Who, What, When, Where, Why, (and How). From there, considering the amount of time and resources available for the project. Whatever one settles upon, the metadata one creates should be as precise and specific as possible, optimized for sorting, and discoverable by the world at large (i.e. findable in Google, etc.).
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