Sophia’s Schoolhouse Episode 007: That’s So Meta, Part 2

Sophia’s Schoolhouse Episode 007: That’s So Meta, Part 2

Sophia’s Schoolhouse is back in session for another lesson on metadata. Go to Sophia’s Schoolhouse blog to watch “That’s So Meta, Part 2.”  Below, find a suggested activity to accompany the video.

Suggested Activity:

Understanding how archivists use metadata to describe collections will help students and teachers become more efficient researchers. Working backwards to describe primary sources is a great way to see first hand the power of metadata. In this activity, students use their context knowledge, observation skills, and creative thinking to come up with metadata that will help them find primary sources on a database like the GHS Image Catalog.


  1. Students should be given an introduction to metadata and archival collections by watching Sophia’s Schoolhouse That’s So Meta part 1 & part 2. After viewing the segments, allow students to ask questions for clarification.
  2. Provide students with copies of the primary sources listed below without any identification or citation information. It would work to display the images on a screen or provide a copy. The activity will not work if students are able to see the record description for each item.
  3. Have students work individually or in groups to come up with metadata to use in an advanced search on the GHS website. the guided questions below can be used to help students get started. You can add an element of competition by having students race to find the correct items on the GHS Image Catalog.
  4. Let students use the GHS Image Catalog advanced search to input their metadata and find the full record.
  5. Provide time for students to reflect on the activity. How will this knowledge help them when they are trying to find primary sources on databases like the GHS Image Catalog?

Primary Sources: 

  1. Baseball
  2. Hotel
  3. Medal
  4. Ceremony
  5. Postcard


Guided Questions: 

  • What kind of primary source is it (photograph, painting, sketch, letter, map, artifact, etc…)?
  • Is there any text on the document? What details can you get from the text?
  • Any guess on what era the item might come from?
  • What do you see? Make a list of everything you see if it is a visual source.