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Towards user‐centered indexing in digital image collections

Krystyna K. Matusiak (University of Wisconsin‐Milwaukee Libraries, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA)

OCLC Systems & Services: International digital library perspectives

ISSN: 1065-075X

Article publication date: 1 October 2006




User‐created metadata, often referred to as folksonomy or social classification, has received a considerable amount of attention in the digital library world. Social tagging is perceived as a tool for enhancing description of digital objects and providing a venue for user input and greater user engagement. This article seeks to examine the pros and cons of user‐generated metadata in the context of digital image collections and compares it to professionally created metadata schema and controlled vocabulary tools.


The article provides an overview of challenges to concept‐based image indexing. It analyzes the characteristics of social classification and compares images described by users to a set of images indexed in a digital collection.


The article finds that user‐generated metadata vary in the level of description, accuracy, and consistency and do not provide a solution to the challenges of image indexing. On the other hand, they reflects user's language and can lead toward user‐centered indexing and greater user engagement.

Practical implications

Social tagging can be implemented as a supplement to professionally created metadata records to provide an opportunity for users to comment on images.


The article introduces the idea of user‐centered image indexing in digital collections.



Matusiak, K.K. (2006), "Towards user‐centered indexing in digital image collections", OCLC Systems & Services: International digital library perspectives, Vol. 22 No. 4, pp. 283-298.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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