Metadata categorization for identifying search patterns in a digital library

Tessel Bogaard*, Laura Hollink, Jan Wielemaker, Jacco van Ossenbruggen, Lynda Hardman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Purpose: For digital libraries, it is useful to understand how users search in a collection. Investigating search patterns can help them to improve the user interface, collection management and search algorithms. However, search patterns may vary widely in different parts of a collection. The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate how to identify these search patterns within a well-curated historical newspaper collection using the existing metadata. Design/methodology/approach: The authors analyzed search logs combined with metadata records describing the content of the collection, using this metadata to create subsets in the logs corresponding to different parts of the collection. Findings: The study shows that faceted search is more prevalent than non-faceted search in terms of number of unique queries, time spent, clicks and downloads. Distinct search patterns are observed in different parts of the collection, corresponding to historical periods, geographical regions or subject matter. Originality/value: First, this study provides deeper insights into search behavior at a fine granularity in a historical newspaper collection, by the inclusion of the metadata in the analysis. Second, it demonstrates how to use metadata categorization as a way to analyze distinct search patterns in a collection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)270-286
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Documentation
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 6 Mar 2019


  • Archives
  • Behaviour
  • Case studies
  • Digital libraries
  • Library users
  • Newspapers
  • Searching


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