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Journal cover: New Library World

New Library World

ISSN: 0307-4803
Incorporates: Asian Libraries

Online from: 1898

Subject Area: Library and Information Studies

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Towards a conceptual framework for user-driven semantic metadata interoperability in digital libraries: A social constructivist approach

Document Information:
Title:Towards a conceptual framework for user-driven semantic metadata interoperability in digital libraries: A social constructivist approach
Author(s):Getaneh Alemu, (University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, UK), Brett Stevens, (University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, UK), Penny Ross, (University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, UK)
Citation:Getaneh Alemu, Brett Stevens, Penny Ross, (2012) "Towards a conceptual framework for user-driven semantic metadata interoperability in digital libraries: A social constructivist approach", New Library World, Vol. 113 Iss: 1/2, pp.38 - 54
Keywords:Digital libraries, Metadata, OPAC, Semantic metadata interoperability, Semantic Web, Social constructivism, Web 2.0
Article type:Conceptual paper
DOI:10.1108/03074801211199031 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Acknowledgements:Special thanks to the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries (CCi) for funding Getaneh Alemu's PhD research. This paper has benefited from comments and critiques received during QQML-2011 (Athens) and JCDL-2011 (Ottawa) conferences and an internal seminar in the School of Creative Technologies (Portsmouth).

Purpose – With the aim of developing a conceptual framework which aims to facilitate semantic metadata interoperability, this paper explores overarching conceptual issues on how traditional library information organisation schemes such as online public access catalogues (OPACs), taxonomies, thesauri, and ontologies on the one hand versus Web 2.0 technologies such as social tagging (folksonomies) can be harnessed to provide users with satisfying experiences.

Design/methodology/approach – This paper reviews works in relation to current metadata creation, utilisation and interoperability approaches, focusing on how a social constructivist philosophical perspective can be employed to underpin metadata decisions in digital libraries. Articles are retrieved from databases such as EBSCO host and Emerald and online magazines such as D-Lib and Ariadne. Books, news articles and blog posts that are deemed relevant are also used to support the arguments put forward in this paper.

Findings – Current metadata approaches are deeply authoritative and metadata deployments in digital libraries tend to favour an objectivist approach with focus on metadata simplicity. It is argued that unless information objects are enriched with metadata generated through a collaborative and user-driven approach, achieving semantic metadata interoperability in digital libraries will remain difficult.

Practical implications – In this paper, it is indicated that the number of metadata elements (fields) constituting a standard has a direct bearing on metadata richness, which in turn directly affects semantic interoperability. It is expected that this paper will contribute towards a better understanding of harnessing user-driven metadata.

Originality/value – As suggested in this paper, a conceptual metadata framework underpinned by a social constructivist approach substantially contributes to semantic interoperability in digital libraries.

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