January 20, 2022

Research Article: "A Study on Metadata Elements for Web-based Reference Resources System Developed through Usability Testing"

The following is a summary of an article from Library Hi Tech (29.2; 2011) The full text is available to subscribers or via document delivery.

Purpose – The study aimed to improve metadata elements of web-based reference resources. To propose correct metadata elements, it was deemed necessary to close the gap between the perception of metadata creators and data creators through a user behavior analysis. Design/methodology/approach – The study employed three types of surveys: behavior analysis of metadata creators, perception analysis of users, and system satisfaction. For analysis of metadata creators, the study examined data fields where metadata were recorded among metadata elements of reference resources. For user awareness analysis, respondents were asked to answer the necessity of 17 elements after they actually had entered data and to recommend other necessary elements. Finally, system satisfaction survey was followed. Findings – As a result, first, it was found that the respondents recognized 5 elements such as contributor, source, data, format, and relation as necessary input elements, which in practice had not been well recorded in real operating systems. The usability test also found that users entered the 5 elements more than other elements. Second, the first survey experience did not impact the second survey response. It was found that previous experience of system use had significantly impacted respondents’ recognition of necessary metadata elements. It was also found that data input rate in the data input test had a significant influence on the change in the perception regarding necessary metadata. Third, the most chosen elements when searching for reference resources were found to be title, subject, description, and creator in order of frequency. Fourth, respondents were surveyed on their satisfaction regarding 9 questions after they had used a system (factor analysis). In this analysis, it was found that the users’ satisfaction was relatively high in system usefulness, ease of system use, ease of understanding information, and sufficiency of metadata elements.Research limitations/implications – The limitation of this study is that the data entry test was not conducted under perfect control as the test was requested and conducted on-line. Therefore, the amount of time and effort the respondents spent on the test was not measurable. However, the goal of this study was not about making the system more convenient to use but about measuring the perception of people regarding necessary metadata elements of a reference resource system. Therefore, the online test environment was actually similar to the reality, hence more relevant than a controlled environment. Originality/value– Since 1990s, studies on the development of metadata elements for web-based reference resources have been made and applied to the real world. Ever since, many reference resources web sites have been developed. However, it was found that no standard metadata format was built for web-based reference resources and each website provided its own item to the minimal degree. The result of this study can provide a standardized and more consistent service for web-based resource.


About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.