IEEE TCDL Bulletin
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TCDL Bulletin
Volume 3   Issue 2
Summer 2007


Interface Design for Browsing Faceted Metadata

Jonathan Stuart-Moore, Monte Evans, Patricia Jacobs
Shodor Education Foundation
300 W Morgan St, Suite 1150
Durham, NC, 27701
1 (919) 530-1911
{jwsm, mevans, pjacobs}


CSERD (, a pathways portal of the National Science Digital Library, catalogs a set of online educational resources related to computational science using a modification of the Dublin Core metadata schema. In developing a browsing system for our library, we evaluated a number of existing browsing/searching systems.

We concluded that tools allowing either searching (where users enter search terms to be matched) or browsing (where users narrow the catalog by choosing one available value for a single metadata facet) were not sufficient. Instead, we created an interface that allowed both searching and browsing, leveraging all of the faceted metadata in the catalog. This allowed users to narrow down the catalog to a list of relevant items by placing limits (i.e., requiring specific values) on a number of different metadata facets (i.e., orthogonal fields, such as "Topic" and "Resource Type").

The interface was built as a plug-in for the Collection Workflow Integration System ( using MySQL, PHP, and Javascript and is publicly available.

User testing showed the need to address two issues: first, of developing a good system for communicating to users the relationships between related facets, as well as their usual orderings; and, second, of improving the user interface so that it is clear how to start and how to stop browsing, and that one may view or search one's results at any time.

Thumbnail image of poster

For a larger view of Figure 1, click here.


© Copyright 2007 Jonathan Stuart-Moore, Monte Evans, and Patricia Jacobs
Some or all of these materials were previously published in the Proceedings of the 6th ACM/IEEE-CS Joint Conference on Digital libraries, ACM 1-59593-354-9.

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