IEEE TCDL Bulletin
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TCDL Bulletin
Current 2005
Volume 2   Issue 1


A Study of Annotations for a Consumer Health Portal

Lili Luo, David West, Gary Marchionini, Catherine Blake
School of Information and Library Science
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill,,,


Catalogers of websites for a digital library face unique challenges. Identifying problems arising from website cataloging process will provide insights in designing better cataloging systems to support the process. One of the approaches of exploring the problems and how they are dealt with is examining the notes that catalogers made during the website cataloging process. In this study, catalogers' notes, or annotations, of cataloging a consumer health portal were examined in an attempt to find out the problems and issues involved in the cataloging process.

A random sample of 464 website catalog records was selected from the complete body of over 2,700. A total of 371 substantive messages were parsed from the "note" field of the catalog records for analysis. They were analyzed and grouped to three facets and eleven categories.

The content analysis indicated that most of the notes related to establishing the topical scope of a website (n=192) and website navigation (n=147). A large number (n=266) of notes took the form of a statement while 109 were posed as questions and 97 as answers.

The findings also indicated that 97of the 464 note fields contained at least one round of discussion with regard to properly cataloging the website. Such consensus building is necessary to avoid low levels of inter-rater reliability with respect to the final catalog decision. Thus, software tools that support collaboration between catalogers would enable catalogers to reach consensus in on- or off-line environments.

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© Copyright 2005 Lili Luo, David West, Gary Marchionini, and Catherine Blake
Some or all of these materials were previously published in the Proceedings of the 5th ACM/IEEE-CS Joint Conference on Digital libraries, ACM 1-58113-876-8/05/0006.

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