Schools metadata was one of my first projects and an eye-opening for a variety of reasons.
The project involved applying National Curriculum metadata to the BBC’s schools content with the aims of getting the content in the National Curriculum portal, to create a power search for teachers and to improve search performance generally.
I’d been taught about Dublin Core at university so it was satisfying to be putting that knowledge to use and to be learning about National Curriculum metadata too. We managed the metadata vocabularies in Protege, the Stanford ontology management tool.
As the project progressed all the justifications for the work dropped away. I was quickly able to quash the expectation that DC or NC tags would have any noticeable impact on Google. Research showed the portal was too thinly populated to be used by our target audience and they weren’t overly keen on the power search concept.
The work still proceeded but for political reasons that I didn’t understand at the beginning of the project. With the BBC political often meant national politics rather than just internal politics and that’s not something you can reject as the UX/IA person on the project but you absolutely need to be aware if it is going on.