My favourite metadata tool remains perpetually open in a browser tab at work: Klokan Technologies’ Bounding Box Tool, an easy-to-use utility that generates bounding box coordinates (in other words, the latitude and longitude values that enclose a given space) for given areas on-the-fly. This metadata is important for capturing the spatial extent of items and describing them in a consistent manner. For every paper map I catalogue into original MARC records, I record the extent in the 034 and 255 fields, and for every geospatial dataset in the MDL data inventory, the bounding box is entered into its own field in the metadata record. Given the different storage requirements of these two databases, it is very convenient that users are offered a choice of 12 (!) different syntax encoding schemes for capturing coordinates – I personally use MARC VTLS (which pops the coordinates into the appropriate subfields for quick copying and pasting) and CSV for these respective applications.

While I’ve been using the Bounding Box Tool for several years, it was only in this course that I learned the term “syntax encoding scheme”, and the flexibility that Klokan continues to develop into it makes it a fantastic tool for anyone working with geospatial resources and catalogues.