Metadata surrogates are the descriptive record which stands in for the “original” item being cataloged. In this case, the “original” item would be the seed and the surrogate would be what grows and branches out from that original item. The surrogate is a representation of the original item.

In A Thousand Plateaus, Deleuze and Guattari name arborescence or the model of the tree as the paradigm for knowledge and practice in the modern Western world; in this model, a small idea—a seed or acorn—takes root and grows into a tree with a sturdy trunk supporting numerous branches, all linked to and traceable back to the original seed. The seed or acorn thus is the beginning point of a coherent organic system that grows vertically and progressively, continually sending out branches that are part of, and identical to, the point of origin. This arborescence, they argue, is the way Western logic and philosophy has worked: in this case, Plato might be the seed and all subsequent philosophies are outgrowths of Platonic thought.1