A theoretical framework for the inclusion of socially-constructed metadata in library resource description

Getaneh Alemu

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

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Abstract

Taking into account the present challenges libraries face to incorporate user-generated metadata in their cataloguing and resource discovery functions, a theoretical metadata framework which aims at the inclusion of socially-constructed metadata in library resource description is suggested. Concepts and principles that underpin standards-based and socially-constructed metadata approaches have been identified and analysed using a constructivist grounded theory method (Charmaz, 2006). In-depth interviews conducted with purposefully selected participants of Library and Information Science researchers, practising librarians, metadata consultants and library users were analysed using three stages of analysis: open coding, selective coding and theoretical coding. The study found out that as collections continue to increase in libraries, the challenges to adequately describe information objects cannot possibly be matched up by the crafts of metadata experts. Thus, the involvement of users through socially-constructed metadata approaches was found essential. As the study reveals, both standards-based and socially-constructed metadata approaches exhibit limitations. To optimally benefit from the two approaches, as the grounded theory analysis showed, standards-based and socially-constructed metadata approaches should be considered as complementary rather than in isolation. To that effect, the core competencies of standards such as metadata structure, granularity, provenance, quality and interoperability can be used to make sense of the flat structure but otherwise rich and diverse social metadata that comes through user tagging, reviews, ratings and recommendations. A mixed metadata approach is thus considered an essential right step towards metadata richness. From the analysis, four overarching metadata principles emerged. The emergence of these principles, it is suggested, amounts to a paradigm shift in the creation and utilisation of metadata in libraries.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 16 May 2013
EventBCS Doctoral Consortium 2013 - BCS London Conference Centre, Covent Garden, London
Duration: 16 May 2013 → …

Conference

ConferenceBCS Doctoral Consortium 2013
CityBCS London Conference Centre, Covent Garden, London
Period16/05/13 → …

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