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Designing Metadata to Meet User Needs for Special Collections


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Discusses user research needs and information-seeking behaviors in special collections contexts, and how better metadata can improve the research experience

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Designing Metadata to Meet User Needs for Special Collections

  1. 1. Designing Metadata to Meet User Needs for Special Collections Allison Jai O’Dell Image: Special Collections Reading Room, Library East, University of Florida, Gainesville #/media/File:UFHistoricBuildingSmathersLibraryEastInteriorSpecialCollectionsRoom.JPG
  2. 2. What do users need? (the question that answers all the other questions)
  3. 3. Schaffner’s synthesis of user studies • Users search by subjects and keywords • Users expect results ranked by relevance • Users expect comprehensive coverage • Users know how to scan and scroll • Users lack awareness about collections Schaffner, The Metadata is the Interface.
  4. 4. Users search by subjects & keywords Let’s buff up subject and keyword access!
  5. 5. Better Indexing • Appropriate hierarchies & subdivisions match the granularity of user searches and browses • User-supplied “tags” added value show how users want to access and organize library resources; data that libraries can use to inform better metadata and services • Control (and publish!) local vocabularies • URIs
  6. 6. Things, not Strings
  7. 7. Abstracting • Support keyword access • Provide context • Let users know: What it features What it is What it can be used for
  8. 8. Topic Modeling • Cluster related subjects together ID collection strengths (“shop your closet”) Let users surf related things • Lets us get away with iffy data Does not require that every item in a subject area has the exact same heading
  9. 9. Users expect results ranked by relevance Let’s support appropriate results!
  10. 10. Relevancy Ranking • Based on: where the search term appears Subject headings Title Abstracts Author-supplied keywords Full text • Based on: what it is Current publication Peer-reviewed Type of material Length of material … We can do better
  11. 11. Semantic Search Semantic search technology relates user search queries to their probable intent, thereby offering more relevant results. This technology is built on a combination of understanding humans (e.g., natural language processing, concept matching) and understanding data (e.g., easily-parsed, uses URIs).
  12. 12. Understandable Data Linked Data = Data that machines understand • BIBFRAME • Microformats Bib Extend
  13. 13. Users expect comprehensive coverage Let’s describe all the things!
  14. 14. Aggregate Description • Collection records in catalog • Finding aids • Landing pages • Subject guides Greene & Meissner, More Product, Less Process
  15. 15. Iterative Description • Content upgrades • Cooperative description • User-supplied content • Links to external resources • Ingest external data Ascher, Progressing toward Bibliography
  16. 16. Users know how to scan and scroll Let’s support browsing!
  17. 17. Arrangement • Classification & call numbers • Shelflists • Series • Controlled access points Subject & genre headings Creators & other names
  18. 18. Uniform Resource Identifiers (URIs) Controlled access points … For the interwebs! • Connect library collections • Let users surf library resources alongside the Web
  19. 19. Guided Search Orientation, Inspiration & Interpretation • Subject guides • Saved searches • Bibliographies • Pathfinders • Visualization
  20. 20. Visualization
  21. 21. Users lack awareness about collections Let’s put collections in their face; Let’s get the metadata out there!
  22. 22. Put Your Metadata Other Places
  23. 23. Let Folks Access Your Metadata • OAI-PMH & OAIster • APIs • SPARQL endpoints • Data dumps • Export options • Linked Data: expose data to the Web • URIs: create links between library metadata & other resources
  24. 24. Create Shareable Metadata • Content is optimized for sharing • Metadata … reflects consistent practices • Metadata is coherent • Context is provided • The metadata provider communicates with aggregators • Metadata and sharing mechanisms conform to standards Shreeves, Riley, and Milewicz, Moving Towards Shareable Metadata.
  25. 25. More Considerations Internationalization • Use clear, concise language • Cultural relevance • Character encoding Policy • Explicit CC license • Own the data you share
  26. 26. Thank you! @AllisonJaiODell |