Metadata Research Center received $25,000 gift

Release date: 

March 17, 2005

The School of Information and Library Science has received a $25,000 gift from Sarah and Claude Snow to establish the Metadata Research Center (MRC). The gift will help continue current research activities and fund the official launch of the center, set for spring 2006.

“I am very excited about the Snow’s gift,” said Dr. Jane Greenberg, associate professor and MRC director. “Metadata is fundamental to all aspects of information and library science. It is a key component of digital libraries; bioinformatics initiatives; electronic commerce ventures, archives, records management, and cultural resource programs; information security efforts—just about anything dealing with the flow and use of information. The Snows share an enthusiasm with me about metadata and are strong advocates of our school.”

“We live in a world shaped by information,” said Sarah T. Snow. “Metadata allows that pervasive and ubiquitous cloud of information to be most effectively described, searched, secured and generated. The value of this science has enormous benefits for every person in every walk of life and we are pleased to aid in the launch of the MRC.”

Metadata is descriptive information about an information resource. Familiar examples include “author,” “title,” “subject,” and “date of publication” for a document. Metadata can vastly improve search results by adding value to Web pages and information, and it can help people retrieve the best information.

MRC exists because rigorous research is needed to investigate questions about who should create metadata—resource authors, information professionals or other people; which metadata-generation techniques are the most efficient and effective—automatic or manual; and how to build effective metadata generation tools.

Current research activities at the center:

  • Automatic Metadata Generation Applications (AMeGA) Project – the goal is to identify recommended functionalities for automatic metadata generation applications. The research is being conducted with the Library of Congress Bibliographic Control Action Plan to lead information centers in organizing and providing access to digital resources in this new millennium. (Funded by the Library of Congress)
  • The Metadata Generation Research (MGR) Project – the goal is to develop an empirical-based model for the most efficient and effective means of generating metadata, integrating human and automatic processes. (Funded by Microsoft Research and OCLC, Online Computer Library Center, Inc.)
  • Scalable, Human-Centered Search: Improving Information Retrieval Using Author-Generated Metadata Project – the goal is to identify which metadata is most valuable for information retrieval. (Funded by UNC’s University Research Council)
  • Project OpenKey – the goal is to develop Polyclave plant keys to facilitate plan identification and scientific discovery. A research emphasis of Project OpenKey is the development and evaluation of metadata standards for taxonomic descriptions. The project is a collaboration with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. (Funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.)

MRC is seeking support for the following activities: a Metadata Research Workshop for scholars; a Metadata Research Institute for the academic and corporate sector; a Scholars’ Program to host an international metadata scholar yearly; a Doctoral Student Fellows Program; and a Student Internship Program. The center will put SILS at the forefront of research on the organization, dissemination and access of digital information and create a stronger link to national and international metadata efforts.

The Snows are co-chairpersons of the SILS Carolina First Campaign Committee, which provides assistance, strategic advice and feedback on the school’s fund-raising campaign plan. Sarah Snow graduated from SILS in 2004 with a master’s in information science and has remained an active alumna by also serving on the SILS Board of Visitors, a group that serves as trusted advisers on education, research and service programs for the school. Claude Snow is the global vice president of the health care industry at Electronic Data Systems, headquartered in Plano,Texas. He received his bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in speech from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The gift counts toward the university’s Carolina First Campaign goal of $1.8 billion. Carolina First is a comprehensive, multi-year, private fund-raising campaign to support Carolina’s vision of becoming the nation’s leading public university.

Please see for more information about MRC. For more information about the center’s needs, please contact Shawn Jackson, director of development, at or (919) 962-8365, or e-mail: