Tag you*re it: Enhancing access to graphic novels

Report
WE N DY WE ST
W W E ST @ A LB A N Y.E D U
SUMMARY OF RESEARCH PROJECT
To examine the access being provided for graphic novel titles in the
discovery layers and online catalogs of a group of Association of
Research Libraries through cataloging practices and social tagging.
RESEARCH QUESTIONS
• Do academic libraries provide users with the option to add social
tags within their online catalog or discovery layer?
• When libraries provide tagging capabilities do end users tag graphic
novels to enhance access?
• Are there specific patterns in the tagging terminology of graphic
novels (i.e., use of the term graphic novels)?
• What metadata are catalogers using to identify graphic novels?
• Does retrospective tagging play a role in access enhancement of
earlier issued graphic novels?
METHODOLOGY
• Through a series of searches in WorldCat, identified a sample of 59
titles that lacked genre headings (655) or subject headings
identifying them as graphic novels.
• Selected 75 ARL libraries to review catalogs & discovery layers.
• 38 libraries offered social tagging options to users.
GRAPHIC NOVELS
• 59 graphic novel titles were used in the study.
• Publication dates ranged from 1979 through 2010.
• All but 5 were held in at least 1 library, resulting in a review of 668
bibliographic records.
• Content ranged from young readers to adult.
• Amelia Earhart: this broad ocean
• Cancer vixen
• Charles Darwin’s on the origins of species
SOCIAL TAGGING
• All of the discovery tools offered users the option to tag.
• 13 (34%) offered a search utility to retrieve tagged items.
• 7 (18.4%) offered the ability to refine results lists with tag
terms only.
• 19 (50%) of the libraries had at least one title with a social tag
indicating that it was a graphic novel.
NUMBER & PERCENT OF TAGGED GRAPHIC NOVELS IN LIBRARIES WITH
TAGGED ITEMS
Number GNS
Number GNs Tagged
10
1
17
1
23
1
2
9
13
14
2
2
14
3
16
3
17
3
18
15
3
4
20
4
23
29
5
6
36
6
36
11
6
11
16
12
24
24
Percent Tagged
10.00%
6.00%
4.00%
22.00%
15.00%
14.00%
21.00%
19.00%
18.00%
17.00%
27.00%
20.00%
22.00%
21.00%
17.00%
17.00%
100.00%
75.00%
100.00%
GENRE HEADINGS
• 64 (9.6%) record had genre heading for graphic novels.
• 39 (60%) records - updated in WorldCat
• 21 (32.8%) records - added at the local level
• 28 (73.7%) of the libraries had at least 1 record updated to include a
genre heading.
• Of the 28 libraries:
• 15 (53.5%) = <10% of sample titles
• 8 (28.5%) = 10.1 – 20%
• 5 (17.9%) = 21.4 – 43.4%
ACCESS
• 143 (21.4%) sample graphic novels had additional access through genre
headings and social tags.
• Social tags provided more additional access than genre headings.
• There was very little overlap of genre headings and graphic novel social tags
(3%).
LIMITATIONS
• Graphic novel – genre vs format remains controversial
• Did not survey catalogers to determine differing philosophies
• Graphic novels are a unique resource and the practice of adding
these materials to collections. The wide range of holdings
impacted the number of potential tagging opportunities across
libraries.
CONCLUSIONS
The results of this study indicate that while social tags and/or genre
headings did provide additional access to graphic novels, their use is
limited across the study’s library population.
Addition of the social tagging and genre headings increases the potential
for users to identify and locate the materials.
Social tagging provides a provocative mechanism for user access.
Libraries need to provide adequate search mechanisms to promote
effective retrieval.
West, Wendy (2013). “Tag, you’re it: enhancing access to
graphic novels.” Portal: Libraries and the Academy, 13 (3), July
2013.

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