This blog post is about a short flashback in my recent past! It has been five years already since I started my PhD adventure and some weeks ago I submitted the ready-to-print version to my primary PhD supervisor, Dr. Salvador Sanchez-Alonso of the University of Alcala de Henares!
I am pending my PhD defense which is on the way but nevertheless I wanted to use this time in between to share with you a short recount of my work during these four years. Starting on 2009, I started studying about metadata quality, both on the theoretical level of literature but also on the more practical level of applying quality assurance methods and techniques, on a repository of open content on organic agriculture and agroecology, called Organic.Edunet. Organic.Edunet was supported with funding from the EU, aiming to create a source of high quality content that would raise awareness of the youth (primarily) on the environment and topics such as organic agriculture.
My work in this project (in addition to major management tasks) was to handle metadata design and implementation on the federation of repositories. As a part of my PhD, I created training material for the metadata providers and trained them on metadata. After that, I measured the metadata quality that was generated from the human metadata annotators. In the same sense, in each stage of the repository development I tweaked and improved the quality assurance mechanisms that were set up, measuring the corresponding results. By the end of the Organic.Edunet implementation I had created and tested a complete quality assurance process called “Metadata Quality Assurance Certification Process (MQACP)” that successfully improved the quality of more than 14.000 metadata records.
In order to validate the encouraging results of the first experiment, two more experiments were organized, in parallel, applied on a federation of repositories with cultural content (Natural Europe) and a federation of repositories with scientific and research content (VOA3R). In these two cases, the MQACP was applied with more or less the same parameters, adapted each time in the particularities of the context. In the end, results showed that in all three cases examined, educational, cultural and research, the MQACP managed to improve completeness for all metadata elements as well as other quality metrics such as objectiveness, correctness, accuracy, appropriateness and consistency. In terms of completeness, the average completeness of all elements in the learning case was around 67%, in the cultural case 74% and in the research case 85% which are all pretty high in comparison to existing studies for similarly sized repositories. Finally, the hours vested to apply MQACP in all three cases, ranged from a total of 134 to a total of 166, showing that the investment in time is comparable and not as high as someone would expect. Overall, my PhD study showed that the proposed QA process holds great promise for improving metadata quality in a reasonable cost. More importantly, future directions of research were identified based on my findings.
I am cutting my story short to avoid getting too boring! Please drop a line if you have any questions related to the above at firstname.lastname@example.org
PS: Some of the really important publications that came out of this stage were the following:
- Palavitsinis, N., Manouselis, N. (2009). “A Survey of Knowledge Organization Systems in Environmental Sciences”, in I.N. Athanasiadis, P.A. Mitkas, A.E. Rizzoli & J. Marx-Gómez (eds.), Information Technologies in Environmental Engineering, Proceedings of the 4th International ICSC Symposium, Springer Berlin Heidelberg.
- Palavitsinis, N., Kastrantas K. and Manouselis, N. (2009). “Interoperable metadata for a federation of learning repositories on organic agriculture and agroecology“[File Download], in Proc. of the Joint International Agricultural Conference 2009 (JIAC 2009), Wageningen, The Netherlands, July 2009.
- Palavitsinis, N., Manouselis, N. and Sanchez, S. (2010). “Preliminary Discussion on a Digital Curation Framework for Learning Repositories“[File Download], in Massart D. & Shulman E. (Eds.), Proc. of Workshop on Search and Exchange of e-le@rning Materials (SE@M’10), Barcelona, Spain, CEUR 681, September 2010.
- Palavitsinis, N., Ebner, H., Manouselis, N., Sanchez S. and Naeve, A., (2009). “Evaluating Metadata Application Profiles Based on Usage Data: The Case of a Metadata Application Profile for Agricultural Learning Resources”, in Proc. of the International Conference on Digital Libraries and the Semantic Web (ICSD 2009), Trento, Italy, September 2009
- Palavitsinis, N., Manouselis, N. and Sanchez, S., (2009). “Evaluation of a Metadata Application Profile for Learning Resources in Organic Agriculture“, in Proc. of 3rd International Conference on Metadata and Semantics Research (MTSR09), Milan, Italy, October 2009
- Palavitsinis, N., Manouselis, N. and Sanchez, S., (2011). “Metadata quality in learning repositories: Issues and considerations“, in Proc. of the World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia & Telecommunications (ED-MEDIA 2011), Lisbon, Portugal
- Palavitsinis, N., Manouselis, N. & Sanchez, S., (in press). Metadata Quality in Learning Object Repositories: A Case Study. The Electronic Library.