There are certain metadata fields which are more conducive for using controlled vocabulary terms. These fields are usually those that describe the content of the item that is non-specific to the individual item. This allows researchers to pull together resources that share similar attributes to make their search more robust. In some cases, the Content Management System (CMS) will only allow faceted searches if there is a controlled vocabulary in place.
Since our digital collections have many different collections it is important to make sure consistent terminology is used in controlled vocabulary fields. Without consistent terminology, users will not be able to search across collection effectively.
Metadata fields that contain information about creators or contributors should include controlled vocabulary terminology when it is available. These include:
Metadata fields that highlight the subjects of an object (what the content of the item represents) are another place where controlled vocabulary terms are preferred. These types of subjects include:
There are a few other metadata fields in which using a controlled vocabulary is important.
There are also other metadata fields that will require some sort of 'normalization' in order to keep the metadata consistent across collections. Some of these can be filled in from a controlled vocabulary, but there are some general unspoken rules that allow both users and computers to mine the data more effectively without sifting through lists of codes. This includes: