Metadata as a Site for Critical Inquiry

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


As a key element of digital infrastructures that shapes the use and reuse of digital information objects, metadata is a rich source for critique. This paper argues for metadata as a focal area for critical inquiry on information systems and characterizes the landscape of research that examines the social and cultural impacts of metadata. Critical information studies needs methods that bridge between analysis of the social impacts of information systems and examination of the technical realities of those systems. Critical data modeling bridges that gap by using data modeling and systems analysis techniques to create critical readings of information systems. The paper concludes with a discussion of future directions for critical metadata research, arguing for relationality and radical empathy as core metadata principles.


  • critical inquiry
  • data modeling
  • metadata for DEIA
  • metadata principles
  • metadata research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Software


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