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Metadata : Promise and Practice Jeffrey Beall Nebraska Library Association Technical Services Round Table Spring Meeting, April 25, 2008 Outline Introduction 8 theses of my talk About me Metadata and high-quality information retrieval; value of browse displays

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Metadata promise and practice l.jpg

Metadata : Promise and Practice

Jeffrey Beall

Nebraska Library Association

Technical Services Round Table

Spring Meeting, April 25, 2008


Outline l.jpg
Outline

  • Introduction

  • 8 theses of my talk

  • About me

  • Metadata and high-quality information retrieval; value of browse displays

  • Four types of searching in libraries

  • The weaknesses of full-text searching

  • The future of cataloging and the debate

  • Next-generation library interfaces


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Favorite funny subject headings

Golf and war

Electric donkeys

Infants — Congresses

World Wide Web — Early works to 1800

Automobile driving — Religious aspects

Dance — France

Women, Kukukuku

(Changed to: Women, Hamtai)

Ugly contests

Host-fungus relationships


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Favorite funny subject headings

Weapons of mass destruction—Safety measures

Pomegranate seeds in literature

Infants — Books and reading

Eskimos — Hunting

Headache patients’ writings

Bird surveys

Violin — Methods (Fiddling)

Global warming — Fiction

Body, Human — Catalogs

Mentally ill parents

Appalachian Region — Intellectual life


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Favorite funny subject headings

Tax exemption — Taxation

Dinosaurs as pets

Labor disputes — Poetry

Crappie fishing

Reality — Fiction

Historic buildings — Design and construction

Public toilets in motion pictures

Domestic asses

Hurling managers

Uranus probes

110 10 |a United States. |b Office of Solid Waste


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Theses

  • Libraries should provide high-quality information discovery and information retrieval.

  • The best way to achieve this is with systems that sufficiently exploit rich, standard, and comprehensive metadata.

  • Rich, standard, and comprehensive metadata requires controlled vocabularies for subject metadata, name disambiguation, granularity of description, and collocation.


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Theses (continued)

  • Full-text searching, while not devoid of value, is a low-quality IR/ID system for the type of searching done in libraries, especially serious research and scholarship, etc.

  • At this time, computers, which do not understand the nuances of human language, are not able to create metadata that is of sufficient quality for use in library IR systems


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Theses (continued)

  • Information discovery often requires mediation. IR systems don’t have to be dumbed-down and made simple. Many things in the world are complicated, so it’s natural that the organization of information will reflect that. It’s okay to have to learn to use a library catalog or other IR system.


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Theses (continued)

  • Library IR systems should not abandon alphabetical browse displays in favor of relevance ranking.

  • The creation, maintenance, and sharing of metadata for intellectual resources should not be made so complicated that it reduces the amount or quality of metadata being created.


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About me

Auraria Campus


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The value of metadata

  • Elements of metadata

  • The value of rich metadata

  • The library technology graveyard – analyses of low-quality, emerging library technologies

  • Defining quality in library IR systems



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The value of left-anchored browse displays

  • Simplicity

  • Structure

  • Parsing advantage

  • References

  • Truncation

  • Concept consolidation

  • Collocation of inverted terms

  • Typographical errors

  • Classification display

  • Completeness

  • Skill transference


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The Four categories of searching in libraries

  • Deterministic searching

  • Full text searching

  • Metatext searching

  • Metadata-enhanced stochastic searching


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Deterministic searching

  • An author, title, subject, number search in an online library catalog

  • Only searches metadata; results sorted alphanumerically

  • Can use cross-references


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Full-text searching

  • Matches words in a search with words in documents

  • Advantages: free, good for rare terms, good for casual information seeking

  • Also called stochastic searching, probabilistic searching


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Metatext searching

  • Is a full-text search but only of metadata

  • A keyword search in a library catalog is an example

  • Advantages: good for rare words; good for novice searchers

  • Disadvantage: May miss abbreviated terms; is full text, but not of full text itself


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Metadata-enhanced stochastic searching

  • Is a full-text search but also uses metadata to limit results

  • Google advanced search is an example

  • Google staff mode – how do they encode metadata? What's their metadata scheme?


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The weaknesses of full-text searching

  • The synonym problem

  • The homonym problem

  • Inability to search by facets

  • Spamming

  • The "aboutness" problem

  • Figurative language

  • Word lists

  • Abstract topics


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The weaknesses of full-text searching (continued)

  • The incognito problem

  • Difficult-to-search paired topics

  • Search engine variability

  • The opaque web



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Miscellaneous

  • What computers still cannot do

  • Gresham's Law

  • Still need metadata surrogates

  • The debate about the future of cataloging

    • My strategy

  • "Next-generation" library catalogs


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WorldCat.org

Example of a

next-generation, FRBRized

search engine

  • Facets

  • Metatext search

  • Hope for catalogers

  • Can be sorted also by

  • author, title, date



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