Metadata auditing is a common practice used to assess quality by drawing on a selection of documents to create a representative sample of the corpus. This article examines common techniques involved in auditing and argues that underlying semiotic principles should be considered before remediation and transformation work are undertaken. This article provides an inquiry into the structural nature of metadata, records, and corpora to analyze the semiotic processes and boundaries that can affect audits. Suggestions for effective auditing practices are offered as well as what can be obfuscated when transformations are undertaken without concern for the sign-functions of metadata.
This is an electronic version of an article published in Cataloging and Classification Quarterly. This article is available online at: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/01639374.2015.1133750