21 March 2013

Landing pages, or citation springboards?

Have you noticed how we talk about a DOI going to a 'landing page'? It's a strange way to describe a page that should not be an endpoint but rather a springboard - somewhere people may land briefly but that is really designed to re-launch scholarly content into the workflows and tools that are in the scholar's space, rather than ours.

We are currently investigating a number of things that we hope will improve the discoverability, citability and re-use of our scholarly content. This includes data collections, the focus of this current project, but could be applied equally to all sorts of other outputs including journal articles, theses and technical reports.

Embedded metadata

We will embed some or all of the following types of metadata into the landing pages for each of our scholarly objects, including data collections.

If I understand it correctly, these types of embedded metadata will help search engines crawl and index our scholarly content more effectively.

It will also make it easier for a user of our services to import a citation for one of our scholarly outputs to a web-based reference manager like Zotero or Mendeley.

Downloadable metadata

Importing citation to offline reference managers

Importing citations from subscription databases into Endnote or other similar products is a common work practice for many researchers, and something that many students get trained to do from their undergraduate days. It is not something that you see so commonly offered by institutional repositories, but is definitely something worth thinking about.

Packaging metadata with downloaded objects

Just as software downloads often come with a readme.txt file, some repositories now package metadata with the object at the time of download. The Merritt repository run by the University of California Curation Center (UC3) takes this approach.

Good old cut-and-paste

Finally, let's not forget that having a prominent well-formed citation statement on your landing page lets users simply cut-and-paste into a document, a note-taking tool, or a virtual stickynote.

We're at an early stage of investigating these strategies; the approach we will take will depend not just on technical feasibility and user demands, but also on resourcing and policy decisions. Hopefully we can report back on some real life experience with at least some of these strategies soon. While they seem to be small things individually, we think that collectively they could go a long way towards turning our landing pages into springboards!


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