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Metadata creation practices at the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources library’s institutional repository

Gobbrey George Chapepa (Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources Library, Lilongwe, Malawi)
Fiskani Ngwira (Department of Information Science, Mzuzu University, Mzuzu, Malawi)
Patrick Mapulanga (Kamuzu University of Health Sciences Libraries, Lilongwe, Malawi)

Digital Library Perspectives

ISSN: 2059-5816

Article publication date: 31 January 2023

Issue publication date: 28 April 2023




The purpose of this study was to investigate metadata creation practices in a functional academic institution repository in Malawi, with a specific focus on the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) library.


The study used a qualitative approach with a case study design. The study adopted a case study strategy that focuses on the in-depth, holistic and in-context examination of one or more cases. The researcher used non-probability purposive sampling to include all three LUANAR Digital Repository (LDR) staff at LUANAR library because they were thought to be knowledgeable about the LDR metadata work. The three library staff members directly involved in repository metadata were investigated for the study. Data collection techniques used in a case study approach included semi-structuring face-to-face interviews and documentary analysis. Data from interviews and documentary reviews were manually analyzed and presented in thematic categories based on the study’s objectives.


Qualified Dublin Core (DC) was chosen by all participants as the only metadata structure scheme that they will use to create and implement metadata in the repository. DC application profile was the only scheme used to enforce uniform naming and capitalization conventions in the application of Qualified DC element definitions. The scheme, however, was discovered to be the Qualified DC default format in the DSpace system. All participants indicated that the Agricultural Organization of the United Nations Vocabulary is used. Participants highlighted that institutional repository system compatibility, the subject matter of the resources, resource types and staff expertise influenced the selection criteria for the metadata schemes. The repository policy had been developed but had yet to be adopted by the LUANAR management.

Research limitations/implications

The current study was limited to LUANAR library. A wider study across public and private universities in Malawi is needed to ascertain the role of metadata policy, technical knowledge and metadata specialist institutional repositories.

Practical implications

Metadata policy is to aid in the understanding of the data, ensuring that appropriate security measures are used to protect the data and for metadata harvesting purposes.

Social implications

Academic libraries should lobby for management support towards metadata policy for institutional repositories.


Very little is known about challenges affecting the growth of institutional repositories and standards adopted, including metadata harvesting. This paper bridges the gap in metadata standards for institutional repositories in developing countries.



Chapepa, G.G., Ngwira, F. and Mapulanga, P. (2023), "Metadata creation practices at the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources library’s institutional repository", Digital Library Perspectives, Vol. 39 No. 2, pp. 205-219.



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