Event Title

Herding Cats: Reducing Metadata Noise for Undergraduate Honors Theses

Presenter Information

G.W. Swicord, University of Florida

Location

Union B

Presentation Type

Full Concurrent Session

Start Date

24-4-2020 1:00 PM

Description

This presentation will communicate the benefits of connecting an electronic submission system for undergraduate Honors theses to a student information system (SIS). Discussion begins with a brief history of electronic Honors theses and projects at the University of Florida, starting in 2009 when our Honors Program first accepted them. This history will help explain some of the metadata noise sources affecting records for our Undergraduate Honors Theses collection.

Next, the discussion will go into some detail about our first major efforts at streamlining metadata creation by shifting from email to web-based submissions. The primary goal of those efforts was to reduce manual effort, but, as work proceeded, we both raised our metadata standards and saw increased submissions. We found ourselves with simplified data input, which was saving time, but we had not only failed to reduce the data cleanup burden, we had added to it even as we needed to process more submissions. Metadata noise reduction had become not just desirable, but necessary.

Fortunately, an ally outside the UF Libraries suggested that we consider connecting a web form to the SIS. We deployed the first iteration in fall 2018. Although we are still addressing some back-end problems related to our university's migration to a new SIS, the connected form has already proven its value by providing consistent and accurate information for metadata creation.

The MA Access database that we use to track Honors submissions has a connection to the database behind the web form, so adding new submissions with 13 automatically populated fields is as easy as running an append query. The new form personalizes the submission experience for each student through an opening display of their degree information and a branching data entry path that supports less common factors such as co-authors and multiple advisors. We also had the opportunity to add one more element to increase similarity between the Honors undergrad submission experience and the process required by our Graduate School. We now offer Honors students a range of restriction options for their works that is nearly identical to the options currently available to master’s and doctoral graduates.

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Apr 24th, 1:00 PM

Herding Cats: Reducing Metadata Noise for Undergraduate Honors Theses

Union B

This presentation will communicate the benefits of connecting an electronic submission system for undergraduate Honors theses to a student information system (SIS). Discussion begins with a brief history of electronic Honors theses and projects at the University of Florida, starting in 2009 when our Honors Program first accepted them. This history will help explain some of the metadata noise sources affecting records for our Undergraduate Honors Theses collection.

Next, the discussion will go into some detail about our first major efforts at streamlining metadata creation by shifting from email to web-based submissions. The primary goal of those efforts was to reduce manual effort, but, as work proceeded, we both raised our metadata standards and saw increased submissions. We found ourselves with simplified data input, which was saving time, but we had not only failed to reduce the data cleanup burden, we had added to it even as we needed to process more submissions. Metadata noise reduction had become not just desirable, but necessary.

Fortunately, an ally outside the UF Libraries suggested that we consider connecting a web form to the SIS. We deployed the first iteration in fall 2018. Although we are still addressing some back-end problems related to our university's migration to a new SIS, the connected form has already proven its value by providing consistent and accurate information for metadata creation.

The MA Access database that we use to track Honors submissions has a connection to the database behind the web form, so adding new submissions with 13 automatically populated fields is as easy as running an append query. The new form personalizes the submission experience for each student through an opening display of their degree information and a branching data entry path that supports less common factors such as co-authors and multiple advisors. We also had the opportunity to add one more element to increase similarity between the Honors undergrad submission experience and the process required by our Graduate School. We now offer Honors students a range of restriction options for their works that is nearly identical to the options currently available to master’s and doctoral graduates.