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Adapting to the evolving vocabularies of learning communities
by Samuel R.H. Joseph, Joyce Yukawa, Daniel D. Suthers, Violet H. Harada
International Journal of Knowledge and Learning (IJKL), Vol. 5, No. 2, 2009


Abstract: This paper presents a differential usage study of a web-based resource database that provides both search and associative browsing functionality. Associative browsing is based on emergent metadata derived from the terms that users associate with the resources they have contributed to the system. We argue that this approach provides a low 'cognitive load' information-seeking mechanism and can also reduce the effort required by the user to enter metadata when contributing resources. In this paper, we compare the results from a three-month study of student librarians using one instance of the system with a three-year study on a larger learning community. The results from both studies are similar in that they suggest associative browsing was at least as popular as search functionality. However, while the three-month study indicates that providing perspectives on emerging metadata during the contribution process may help the community self-organise its vocabulary, the results of the three-year study are equivocal.

Online publication date: Sun, 16-Aug-2009


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