Mapping metadata to DDC classification structures for searching and browsing


In this paper, we introduce a metadata visual interface based on metadata aggregation and automatic classification mapping. We demonstrate that it is possible to aggregate metadata records from multiple unrelated repositories, enhance them through automatic classification, and present them in a unified visual interface. The main features of the interface include dynamic querying using DDC classes as filters, interactive visual views of search results and related DDC classes, and drill-down options for searching and browsing in different levels of details. The interface was tested in a user study of 30 subjects. A comparison was done on three modules of the interface, namely ‘search interface’, ‘hierarchical interface’, and ‘visual interface.’ The results indicate that subjects performed well with all the three interfaces, and they had more positive experience with the hierarchical interface than with the search interface and the visual interface.

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Correspondence to Xia Lin.


Appendix A

Sample wireframe interfaces used for the focused group studies.


Appendix B

The search tasks used in the experiment:

  1. 1.

    Please find best Web resources that a high school student should read when working on a paper for nuclear testing sites and its impact to the environments. What DDC classes would be useful for this topic?

  2. 2.

    You have been asked to prepare a class project on the water cycle, and to identify some of the current environmental, social, political, and other issues associated with different stages of the water cycle. Please identify relevant web resources and DDC classes.

  3. 3.

    Hurricane Katrina was one of the largest storms to make landfall in the United States, and the costliest in terms of damage to New Orleans and other places. Your project is to collect information for writing a timeline for Hurricane Katrina. The timeline should not just focus on the storm itself, but also look at such issues as the history of New Orleans, the social and political issues that were raised after the storm, the reconstruction, how the storm has been remembered, how the storm has affected peoples’ lives today, and so on.

Appendix C

Post-search questionnaire. Each Interface (Search interface, Tree interface, and Visual interface) has a customized post-questionnaire with similar questions. Below is the questionnaire for the Visual Interface.


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Lin, X., Khoo, M., Ahn, J. et al. Mapping metadata to DDC classification structures for searching and browsing. Int J Digit Libr 18, 25–39 (2017).

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  • Metadata integration
  • Automatic classification mapping
  • Dewey decimal classification
  • Visual interface design
  • Visualization interfaces