MetaScholar: An Emory University Digital Library Research Initiative
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An Emory University Digital Library Research Initiative, Funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation


The Study of User Quality Metrics Project is a collaborative venture of Emory University's MetaScholar Initiative and Virginia Tech, supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS),.

In this project, Emory University and Virginia Tech are collaboratively undertaking a series of studies using production digital library services to determine what criteria underlie the preferences and assumptions of different groups of users regarding metasearch systems. We will augment existing open source search engines, adding algorithms and interfaces to handle custom search ranking metrics based on the attributes of resources and collections. Building upon this testbed, we will experimentally assess the reactions of users to different retrieval algorithms and different quality metric weightings. The statistical responses of users will be analyzed to theoretically model user quality metrics for metasearching systems of various types. Finally, a dataset of results will be made available publicly and results will be reported in project reports, articles, and presentations.

Research Outcomes: This work will have three main outcomes for both the research community and practitioners:

1. Empirical data concerning user preferences, expectations, and other quality metrics for metasearching systems will be made available.

2. A theoretical model of user quality metrics for metasearch systems will be produced, which will fit the large amount of empirical data collected.

3. A digital library search engine capable of accepting explicit ranking algorithms for metasearching will be produced and made available as open source software for other research and practical use, which will be based on the theoretical model.

This site will serve as a central space for disseminating information, reports, and other documents associated with the Quality Metrics Project.