Experiences of Educators Using a Portal of Aggregated Metadata
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Open Archives Initiative Metadata Harvesting Project sought to test the viability of a search portal containing aggregated metadata for cultural heritage resources harvested using the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH). Metadata was collected from 39 providers, including museums, archives, libraries, historical societies, consortiums, and digital libraries. Some resources existed in digital formats, such as .JPG images. Other resources were analog objects and were represented digitally through the metadata. The paper documents a pilot user test with a small group of K-12 teachers-in-training. The users were asked to use the portal to locate primary source materials for use in the classroom. The results highlight the challenges posed by aggregations of heterogeneous metadata for both users and service providers. Areas for further investigation and approaches for more in-depth studies are suggested.