Role of metadata
Using the ‘jobs’-to-be done’ methodology
Metadata ‘scenarios’ are treated as potential ‘solutions’ and analysed by asking the following question:

So what are the (metadata) solutions?

How could metadata help?
1. Clear minimum standards for metadata applied to all ebooks (quality and quantity)
2. Metadata applied in a uniform manner
3. Minimum standards retrospectively
4. Minimum standards agreed by publishers, aggregators, librarians (arguments over what these are - LCSH provide good precision but not if patrons do not know how to use them)
5. Additional metadata format identified and agreed (enable searching within books e.g. TOC and abstracts in a consistent manner)
6. Education on the use of metadata incorporated into library instruction.
7. Discovery systems can facilitate metadata searching – allowing patrons to see/browse within the relevant metadata fields
8. Effective metadata system to deal with the production of e-books in different formats

What are the solution’s capabilities?

1. Ability to support search facilities consistently across a range of search requirements (platforms/supplier databases without needing to conduct different searches) – potential for union/collective data source searches.
2. Increase precision of searches (if patrons are aware of which fields they are searching in e.g. consistently in LCSH not all fields)
3. Increase recall to widen the search results if all fields including TOC and abstracts where available. Giving patrons the ability to search inside the e-book.
4. Monitor use of items and trigger additional purchase, or change of original purchase (from short-term use it may trigger a purchase of title for library – driven by patron use figures)
5. Activity data (if available to patrons) may guide them to purchase one book over another. Suggestion/recommendation may be available in future.
6. Develop students’ information literature skills – enabling them to conduct effective searches.
7. Ensure more precise purchasing by patron if they have sufficient metadata / information to evaluate the book before they make the decision to purchase an e-book (or chapter).

What barriers does it overcome?

1. Lack of clarity over what fields are being searched (increase precision)
2. Scarcity of texts: metadata increase the search potential for e-books, using abstracts or LCSH
3. If libraries have more faith in their users’ ability to search and evaluate information then they may remove pre-selection / access restrictions on materials available for PDA.
4. Access to data inside the book – ability to search to chapter level (TOC)
5. Purchasing of inappropriate e-books: patrons may purchase inappropriate books if they have insufficient metadata to aid pre-purchase evaluation.
6. Lack of purchases at a specific level – if users are not signposted to a specific item then it may not get enough purchases to be added to the collection permanently.
7. Purchase / use drop-off from sites which have complex search systems – identified as a problem especially if the library staff are unavailable to offer help.
8. Current suppliers provide different levels of metadata
9. Duplicate purchasing – if metadata can solve unique identifier issues

What objectives can it address?

Refer to list of objectives from pts 1 & 2

In what circumstance will it be most effective?

  1. 1. Fine tuning collection profiles – increasing the pool of books from which patrons can purchase
  2. 2. Where patrons are skilled searchers – can effectively use metadata for discovery and evaluating

For what jobs is the solution applicable?


Refer to list of objectives from pts 1 & 2

Who would use this solution

  1. 1. Student patrons: unconsciously or consciously to aid their discovery of e-books and to evaluate the books to inform their purchasing decisions. However – Google generation are used to taking a look at items rather than browsing descriptions.
  2. 2. Researcher patrons: for faceted searching, or to ensure precision in searches.
  3. 3. Academic patrons: for 1 & 2
  4. 4. Librarians: when deciding on PDA pre-purchase restrictions, decisions on which discovery platforms to make available to patrons ... Librarians more likely to purchased e-book bundles or aggregator services if they know the metadata is sufficient.
  5. 5. Libraries who have fewer cataloguing staff who can enhance the records/metadata in-house
  6. 6. E-book suppliers/Libraries: future use: Potentially used to profile students use and provide suggestions for future searches (eg. Amazon search systems)
  7. 7. In addition to purchase it would enable better use of referencing systems for the patron (better usability of systems such as Endnote, Reference Manager)

Issues not mentioned above

1. MARC and PDA – a patron will not be concerned over MARC records but if this issue was sorted out by a specific supplier then libraries maybe more likely to make their platforms/discovery tools available to patrons for PDA ?? how relevant is this?
2. Who produces the metadata?
3. Is PDA actually used for purchase decisions immediately or to inform librarian purchases. Could PDA be used more for short-loan or free browsing purposes (if available) and the data from these processes would inform actual e-book collection purchases by the library.
4. How do users look for e-books and make purchasing decisions
a. Do they look on the library catalogue and then purchase items from suppliers such as Amazon?
b. Do they look on Amazon for selection suggestions with reviews then make their purchase through the library’s systems?
5. Would improvements in metadata increase PDA purchasing as a proportion of the library budget.
6. Role and use of ERM solutions in e-book metadata management.

Not relevant to metadata specifically:
1. Link between library catalogues and VLEs (Virtual learning environments).