Title: Exploring the richness of collection-level subject metadata in three large-scale digital libraries

Authors: Oksana L. Zavalina

Addresses: Department of Library and Information Sciences, College of Information, University of North Texas, 1155 Union Circle 311068 Denton, TX 76203-5017, USA

Abstract: A growing number of digital libraries worldwide are now generating collection-level metadata to describe entire digital collections as integral wholes. This paper reports results of the study that used an in-depth comparative content analysis to assess free-text and controlled-vocabulary collection-level subject metadata in three large-scale digital libraries in the European Union and the USA. As observed by this study, the emerging best practices in creating collection-level subject metadata include: (a) describing collection's subject matter with mutually complementary values in controlled-vocabulary and free-text metadata; (b) encoding a variety of collection properties in free-text metadata, including both subject properties (topical, geographic and temporal coverage, and types/genres of objects) and non-subject information: title, size, provenance, collection development, copyright, audience, navigation and functionality, language of items in a digital collection, frequency of additions, institutions that host a collection or contribute to it, funding sources, item creators, importance, uniqueness and comprehensiveness of a digital collection.

Keywords: digital libraries; digital aggregations; digital collections; subject access; semantic access; collection-level metadata; subject metadata; controlled vocabulary metadata; free text metadata; metadata evaluation; metadata quality; content analysis.

DOI: 10.1504/IJMSO.2012.050182

International Journal of Metadata, Semantics and Ontologies, 2012 Vol.7 No.3, pp.209 - 221

Received: 09 Mar 2012
Accepted: 09 Jul 2012

Published online: 31 Dec 2014 *

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