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Library catalogue’s search interface: Making the most of subject metadata

Golub, Koraljka; Gnoli, Claudio; Haynes, David; Salaba, Athena; Shiri, Ali; Slavic, Aida


Koraljka Golub

Claudio Gnoli

Athena Salaba

Ali Shiri

Aida Slavic


This article addresses the underutilization of knowledge organization systems (KOS) elements in online library catalogues, hindering effective subject-based search and discovery. It highlights the International Society for Knowledge Organization's initiative to develop metadata guidelines for library catalog procurement, focusing on maximizing the value of subject metadata from classification systems and controlled vocabularies. The paper discusses the rationale for quality subject access, proposes desirable search functionalities based on research, explores implementation challenges, and outlines future developments. The conclusion emphasizes the importance of providing quality subject access in digital services and calls for further research on interface design, guideline adoption, KOS evolution, and the impact of language models on subject metadata use. The work underscores the need for applying controlled vocabularies in search interfaces across libraries, archives, and museums while acknowledging the complementary role of alternative approaches like social tagging and automatic indexing. Extensive future research is suggested to implement search functionalities, promote guidelines adoption, enhance KOS evolution, and assess the influence of language models on subject metadata utilization.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 29, 2023
Deposit Date Mar 15, 2024
Print ISSN 0943-7444
Publisher Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Public URL
Publisher URL

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