Metadata literacy: an analysis of metadata awareness in college students Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
  • Mitchell, Erik T.
    • Affiliation: School of Information and Library Science
  • CONTEXT: This dissertation examines the role of metadata in undergraduate students' information environments. It uses a constructivist world view and an Information Literacy (IL) perspective to evaluate student metadata literacy (ML). Fifty undergraduate students formed the study population in an online mixed-methods study. OBJECTIVE: To understand how students use metadata and to evaluate competency using metrics informed by IL models. Key research questions examined participant awareness of metadata, impact of instruction on levels of ML and use of metadata in information environments. APPROACH: This study employed a mixed-methods approach which included survey, experimental, and observational elements. ANALYSIS: Participant responses were grouped for analysis based on survey data and included education level, awareness of IL concepts, and extent of digital information use. Quantitative data was analyzed to detect differences among groups using measures of task proficiency and self-efficacy. Qualitative data was analyzed to identify student attitudes towards and use of metadata. RESULTS: Participants indicated a good base level of ML evidenced by high self-efficacy and reasonable task completion scores. Participants were found to be using metadata in complex ways for social networking purposes. The study also found that academic level, major, and prior IL instruction were not related to ML levels in the study population. Significant differences were found among participants who had prior experience working with digital information (p < .044), in Self-Efficacy ratings among participants with prior IL instruction (p < .015), and among all participants in self-efficacy levels with regards to different ML concepts (e.g. ability to identify as opposed to create metadata). Qualitative analysis indicated that participants recognized the value of metadata in social networking software and were able to identify various uses of metadata including social connections and relationships and metadata re-use by others. CONCLUSION: While students possess a base level of ability and confidence with regards to ML, they are not as confident about advanced concepts. Further, student creation of metadata tends to focus on social uses as opposed to personal uses.
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  • In Copyright
  • Greenberg, Jane
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Open access

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