There are plenty of communities that manage metadata besides libraries. I frequently see job postings for data curators here at MPOW. I’m considering starting a metadata or data curation interest group on campus. I think librarians need to be proactive about the types of metadata services we can provide to our customers. Some of our peer libraries do a great job making metadata services a public service. See how MIT, Cornell, University of Indiana, and University of Wisconsin promote their metadata expertise.
At this point in time, I think our library can manage taking on a consulting type of role. Most of the people managing metadata on campus are specialists with advanced degrees in the discipline. There’s a reason for that. Their “collections” require subject expertise in order to properly create descriptive metadata. The experts don’t necessarily have training in creating metadata or doing digital preservation, however. And they probably run into the typical issues in managing metadata that libraries do. At the very least it would be useful to network with people that share common interests. It can only help us figure out how the library fits in with the emerging paradigms of scholarly communication.