Informing and evaluating a metadata initiative: Usability and metadata studies in Minnesota's Foundations Project

By Eileen Quam. Government Information Quarterly V18, 3, 2001, p181-194 Minnesota's Foundations Project is a multiagency collaboration to improve access to environmental and natural resources information. The Project chose the Dublin Core metadata standard for web resources. Three studies were conducted: needs assessment, Bridges web site user interface, and usability of controlled vocabulary in Dublin Core metadata. Based on these findings and information architecture, the Project published best practice guidelines. Controlled vocabulary is important to facilitate access. This is relevant to the third study on Dublin Core metadata, which tested keyword searches of web pages to determine the effectiveness of controlled vocabulary in the Dublin Core subject tag. Central to the Best Practice Guidelines is the User Guide to Dublin Core, which offers an element-by-element understanding of the metadata schema. Current bibliographies and reports show further background work that informed the decision-making process for such important choices as metadata schema, thesaurus and thesaurus management software, search engine, and RDF/XML standards.