More social metadata for LAMs

Today we released Social Metadata for Libraries, Archives, and Museums, Part 2: Survey Analysis. This is the second of a series of three reports a 21-member Social Metadata Working Group from five countries produced as the result of our research in 2009 and 2010.

The cultural heritage organizations in the OCLC Research Library Partnership have been eager to expand their reach into user communities and to take advantage of users’ expertise to enrich their descriptive metadata. Social metadata—content contributed by users—is evolving as a way to both augment and recontexutalize the content and metadata created by LAMs.

Our first report, Social Metadata for Libraries, Archives, and Museums, Part 1: Site Reviews, provides an environmental scan of sites and third-party hosted social media sites relevant to libraries, archives, and museums. We noted which social media features each site supported, such as tagging, comments, reviews, images, videos, ratings, recommendations, lists, links to related articles, etc.

The second report is our analysis of the results from a social metadata survey of site managers conducted from October to November 2009. Forty percent of the responses came from outside the United States. A few highlights:

  • More than 70 percent had been offering social media features for two years or less.
  • Engaging new or existing audiences is used as a success criteria more frequently than any other criteria.
  • A minority of survey respondents are concerned about the way the site’s content is used or repurposed outside the site.
  • Spam and abusive user behavior are sporadic and easily managed.
  • The survey results indicate that engagement is best measured by quality, not quantity.
  • The vast majority of respondents considered their sites to be successful.

The upcoming third report provides recommendations on social metadata features most relevant to libraries, archives, and museums and factors contributing to success and an annotated list of all the resources the working group consulted.

As with many OCLC Research publications, this report was written to help meet the needs of the OCLC Research Library Partnership. The Partnership not only inspires but also underwrites this type of work, so many thanks to the institutions who both contribute to and support our work!

We look forward to hearing your feedback!




Karen Smith-Yoshimura, senior program officer, works on topics related to creating and managing metadata with a focus on large research libraries and multilingual requirements.