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Metadata - The Political Dimension




David Haynes will talk about the political and ethical aspects of metadata and the issues that arise when metadata is used to manage information resources.  In the new edition of his book ‘Metadata for information management and retrieval’, he says (Haynes 2018):

“If anyone wondered about the importance of metadata, the Snowden revelations about US government data-gathering activities should leave no one in any doubt”

He goes on to quote Stuart Baker the NSA General Counsel “Metadata tells you everything about somebody’s life.  If you have enough metadata you don’t really need content” (Schneier 2015).

His talk will give a brief history of metadata before outlining the role that it plays today in managing the ‘information communication chain’ (Robinson 2015).  He will then focus on some of the issues of politics, power and ownership that arise when we talk about metadata.

David Haynes is an IC postdoctoral research fellow within the Department of Library & Information Science at City, University of London where he is currently conducting research into online privacy.  He has had extensive experience in all sectors of the library and information domain.  He is a member of the British Computer Society, a Chartered Fellow of CILIP and he chairs the UK chapter of ISKO (International Society for Knowledge Organization).  As well as teaching and researching at City, David is an Honorary Tutor at the University of Dundee.

18:00 Arrival and registration
18:30 Introduction (David Bawden/Lyn Robinson)
18:40 Metadata – the political dimension (David Haynes)
19:15 Drinks reception
19:45 End

Copies of the book will be available for inspection and purchase at this event.  For further details go to:


Haynes, D., 2018. Metadata for Information Management and Retrieval: understanding metadata and its use 2nd ed., London: Facet Publishing.

Robinson, L., 2015. Multisensory, Pervasive, Immersive: towards a new generation of documents. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 66(8), pp.1734–1737.

Schneier, B., 2015. Data and Goliath: the hidden battles to collect your data and control your world, New York, NY: W.W.Norton.

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When and where

6.00pm - 9.00pmWednesday 4th April 2018

C309 Tait Building City, University of London Northampton Square London EC1V 0HB United Kingdom

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