Preliminary Findings: A Comparative Study of Subject Metadata in an Images for Teaching Collection

  • Hannah M. Marshall Cornell University
Keywords: image indexing, subject analysis, subject access, image retrieval, descriptive metadata, subject metadata, controlled vocabularies, subject authorities, images for teaching, image collections


In this study, art history and classics students were asked to perform descriptive tasks for art images from an Images for Teaching Collection. The descriptive terms that the participants assigned to the images were recorded and compared to the existing descriptive metadata for these images. Correspondence between the existing metadata and the participant-assigned subject terms was analyzed and characterized. Through this comparison, the researcher was able to determine approximate retrieval rates for subject based searching, analyze the types of subject analysis being done by each group, and test, through the use of a variable group, a potential framework for providing visual literacy outreach.

Author Biography

Hannah M. Marshall, Cornell University

Hannah Marshall is the Metadata Librarian for Image Collections at Cornell University. She has a background in art history and library science and her research interests include the subject analysis of images and works of art. Hannah was a 2014 IRDL Scholar and this study was accepted as part of the inaugural Institute for Research Design in Librarianship in June 2014.

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