Texas Digital Library Conference System, TCDL 2012

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Enhancing Content Visibility in Institutional Repositories: Maintaining Metadata Consistency across Digital Collections
Ahmet Meti Tmava, Daniel Gelaw Alemneh

Last modified: 2012-04-16


In the last decade, a growing body of the scholarly information and instructional materials produced by universities existed primarily in digital format. New digital technologies not just increased the productivity of scholars but also enabled them to manage their own digital content in ways that facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration, and accelerate the pace of discovery and innovation. The available literature on IRs indicates that faculty members are typically best at creating, not necessarily preserving, new knowledge. According to Palmer et al., (2008), the goal of IR is to collect, preserve, and make persistently accessible a variety of scholarly materials. Academic institutions have increasingly recognized that an institutional repository (IR) is an essential infrastructure of scholarly dissemination.

Generally IRs have a wide range of content and each institution has to make its own decision of what items and types of materials are to be included in an IR. In addition to faculty e-prints and student electronic theses and dissertation, different repositories have encouraged tangential scholarly IR items such as open access journals, academic newsletter, campus-wide publications, and other academic or administrative documents to be included. Different libraries define their open access IR in a broad sense as an archive that houses peer-reviewed intellectual work, related to research and teaching that may also include materials representing cultural, historical and administrative documentation. Therefore, an IR is not simply a fixed set of software and hardware. It can take many forms and hold different content. According to the most recent (March 2012) OpenDOAR report, out of 2180 repositories worldwide, the most common IR software platforms are: DSpace (39%), Eprints (15%), Digital Commons (4%), DLibra (3%), OPUS (3%), Greenstone (2%) Div a-Portal (1%), others (14%), and unknown possibly locally developed software (18%).

However, regardless of repository software deployed, metadata plays a key role in describing and managing digital objects of different formats to effectively integrate the contents of IR into the existing services and collections. Open access digital repositories have implemented the Open Archive Initiative-Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH) as a mechanism to achieve interoperability in the exchange of meta-information with other systems. The greater consistency in metadata will lead to more faceted searching by sophisticated open source search engines. Thus consistency is the key factor in successfully managing different scholarly works in IRs and in making information more widely and easily available to users. This poster will discuss strategies to deal with the task of maintaining consistency and the creation of and adherence to institutional-specific policies for metadata quality.


repository management, metadata, metadata standards, software platforms, metadata interoperability, metadata consistency