SUMMARY. Principles drawn not just from library and information science, but also from structuralist literary theory, provide the beginnings of a flexible theoretical framework that will incorporate not just current metadata activities but those in the future that cannot yet be envisioned. A distinction common in literary studies is used here to distinguish between metadata applications for discovery and metadata applications for use. Metadata systems for resource discovery, such as the Dublin Core, are continuous with the traditions of bibliographic description, and rely on a principle of metonymy: the use of a surrogate or adjunct object to represent another. Metadata systems for resource use, such as semantic markup languages, are continuous with the traditions of database design, and rely on a principle of metaphor: the use of a paradigmatic image or design that conditions how the user will respond to and interact with the data. [Ar­ ticle copies available for a fee from The Haworth Document Delivery Service: 1 -800-HAWORTH. E-mail address: <[email protected]> Web­ site: <https://www.HaworthPress.com>; © 2005 by The Haworth Press, Inc. All rights reserved.]

KEYWORDS. Metadata, cataloging, bibliographic description, literary displacement, synchrony, diachrony, metaphor, metonymy, synechdoche

The rise of the term “metadata” as a means of describing and provid­ ing access to electronic resources was cause for celebration in the com­ munity of Library and Information Science, in the wake of the first Dublin Core meeting in 1995. As a term that evoked both traditional li­ brary services of bibliographic control and new Internet functionalities, the term came to symbolize many good things: a fruitful connection with other disciplines, such as computer science; the potential spread of bibliographic control into the thorny region of Web resources; the emergence of librarians as knowledge experts in the new information economy; and the rise of another Golden Age of cataloguing to replace the one Cutter lamented at the end of the nineteenth century (Cutter 1904, 65).