Date of Award

1-1-2012

Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Department

School of Library and information Science

First Advisor

Samantha K Hastings

Second Advisor

Robert V Williams

Abstract

This study is a comparison of the descriptive tagging practices among library, archive, and museum professionals using an inter-indexing consistency approach. The first purpose of this study was to determine the extent of the similarities and differences among professional groups when assigning descriptive tags to a wide variety of objects that may be found in any one or all three types of institutions (libraries, archives, and museums). Descriptive practices among information professionals were determined using measures of inter-indexer terminological consistency to compare frequencies in descriptive tagging outcomes. The second purpose of this study was to compare the descriptive practices of these three different groups of information professionals to different object types typically found within the library, archive, or museum environment. The number of tags applied per object type and professional group was measured via a two-way analysis of variance.

The objectives were to: (1) determine if there was a significant difference in the number of tags assigned to the four different object types by the three groups of information professionals; (2) determine if there was a significant difference in the number of exact matched tags among professional groups when describing the four object types, and; (3) determine if there was a significant difference among information professionals in the percentage of matched tags per object type.

Findings from this study indicate while there are few differences in depth of indexing per object type among professional groups, various levels of description were applied to the four different object types. Levels of description were derived from: (1) the three dimensional or physical media pictured; (2) the digital surrogate; (3) the objects aboutness; (4) the technique and materials used to make the physical object, and; (5) written text. Data analysis also indicates there was a significant difference between means in the total number of descriptive tags and in the number of exact matched primary tags applied per object type. As such, information retrieval within the online environment could be improved if there was better quality control in the application of subject access points among information professionals across the library, archive, and museum environments.

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