An Exploratory Study of the Description Field in the Digital Public Library of America

Hannah Tarver, Oksana Zavalina, Mark Phillips


This paper presents results of an exploratory quantitative
analysis regarding the application of a free-text Description metadata element
and data values associated with this element. It uses a dataset containing over
11.6 million item-level metadata records from the Digital Public Library of
America (DPLA), originating from a number of institutions that serve as DPLA’s
content or service hubs. This benchmark study provides empirical quantitative
data about the Description fields and their data values at the hub level (e.g.,
minimum, maximum, and average number of description fields per record; number of
records without free-text description fields; length of data values; etc.) and
provides general analysis and discussion in relation to the findings.

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