Semantic Metadata Interoperability in Digital Libraries
A Constructivist Grounded Theory Approach to Semantic Metadata Interoperability in Digital Libraries Getaneh Alemu Penny Ross Brett StevensThe 3rd Qualitative and Quantitative Methods in Libraries International Conference, Athens, Greece 24th-27th May 2011
RESEARCH QUESTIONS• What are the views and experiences of LIS researchers, librarians and users in using metadata?• What solutions do they consider practical for facilitating information exchange, information sharing, and data integration?• How much useful do they consider top-down vs bottom up approaches and Semantic Web and Web 2.0 technologies in relation to semantic metadata interoperability?
GROUNDED THEORY METHOD FOR SEMANTIC INTEROPERABILITY• Scant use of theories in LIS• Semantic interoperability is a qualitative concern(Andersen & Skouvig, 2006; Floridi, 2000; Hjorland, 2000; Allan, 2007; Lehmann, 2010; Haslhofer & Klas, 2010, p.17)
DATA COLLECTION• Unstructured, in-depth interviews• Three categories of participants• Choice of Research Site (Phase-I study) • 2 lecturers, 1 PhD researcher and 8 MSc students
PRELIMINARY REFLECTIONS: OPAC“OPAC is the biggest innovation for libraries that ever happened” participant
THE PROBLEMS• By their very nature, cultural information objects convey different meanings for diverse user groups, and hence, can be interpreted variously• Human beings are highly unlikely to agree on a singular, top-down and hierarchical classification of objects• Unfortunately, most current standards tend to adhere to what is known as the ontologically and objectively true viewpoint which substantially fails to capture and represent local and/or regional perspectives and interpretations. “The way Asians describe Asian art is quite different from the way a Westerner does.” participant
CONCLUSIONDue to the very nature of the diversity inherent in institutionaland cultural interpretations as well as differences in the usage ofterms in metadata vocabularies, semantic metadatainteroperability issues can better be addressed by adopting asocial constructivist philosophical approach and by utilising aconstructivist grounded theory methodology.