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Thursday 18 August 2016

Valuing tags, reviews and ratings

Dr Getaneh Alemu, Head of Southampton Solent University’s library cataloguing and metadata team, has been awarded the International Federation of Library Association’s (IFLA) / De Gruyter Saur Research Award 2016 for his work on improving access to digital resources.


The IFLA / De Gruyter Saur award is presented annually for the best research paper on a topic of importance to publishing and information access. Getaneh’s work looks at improving access to digital resources through innovations in the use of metadata.

Getaneh, who joined the University in December 2014, believes that metadata is crucial to helping people find the right information at the right time. He advocates an approach to metadata that values the tags, reviews and ratings created by resource users, just as much as the metadata added by the subject specialists who have written and published the work.


Born in Ethiopia, the birthplace of the coffee bean, Getaneh likens the metadata process to making the perfect cup of coffee.

“Enriching, blending and filtering keywords and data are fundamental to the process and, like all good things in life, sharing with others only enhances the experience and increases the benefits we get from it,” he says.

Getaneh and his team are currently working to adopt the core principles of his research to help make it easier for Solent students and staff to discover the full range of digital resources on offer through the University’s library.


After completing his PhD in digital library metadata in 2014, Getaneh published a book entitled “An Emergent Theory of Digital Library Metadata: Enrich then Filter” (Chandos Publishing, 2015). He has also published several peer-reviewed research articles on journals including New Library World and Journal of Library Metadata on the topics of metadata, open access and Linked Data. His research publications can be accessed online at Google Scholar.