Librarians urge publishers: get your metadata out there, everywhere

Improving the Discoverability of Scholarly Content: Academic Library Priorities and Perspectives, a Sage white paper published today, discusses new ways for members of the scholarly communications supply chain to solve discoverability issues.

Sage's Lettie Conrad, executive manager of product analysis, and Elisabeth Leonard, executive market research manager, surveyed 252 librarians about resource discovery practices and priorities.

Survey findings include the following:

  • Librarians considered the highest potential for increasing discovery indexing to be mainstream search engines (Google) and in academic databases (A&I); and
  • The library catalogue remains a priority discovery channel for librarians.

Discovery issues preventing libraries from purchasing/subscribing to scholarly resources include:

  • Lack of metadata standards compliance = 23 per cent;
  • Lack of transparency around discoverability = 33 per cent;
  • Lack of collaboration = 26 per cent; and
  • Lack of metadata = 33 per cent.

The biggest discoverability challenges are found with audiovisual and multimedia materials.

The paper discusses how content providers can promote discoverability by 'getting their metadata out there, everywhere'. For example, publishers can participate in open web and library resource discovery and access tools such as search engine indexing, high-quality, timely MARC records, and metadata standards compliance.

Furthermore, the authors recommend that librarians communicate openly and directly with publishers and others in the community about furthering their library priorities.

'The realities of how students discover and use academic resources are of critical importance to librarians, publishers, technologists, and all stakeholders in higher education and scholarly communication,' Conrad and Leonard wrote. 'Studies such as the surveys summarised in this report highlight many areas for collaborative improvements toward a more optimised environment for content discovery and usage.'

For a copy of the study, email

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