Identification of sources for missing electronic theses and dissertations metadata in higher education institutions in Zambia.

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Chisale, Adrian
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The University of Zambia
Low-quality metadata can lead to vagueness, poor recall, and inconsistent search results, underscoring the importance of robust quality assurance mechanisms in Information Retrieval systems. This study addresses the challenges of ensuring the completeness and quality of Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETDs) metadata within Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in Zambia. Zambia has 61 registered HEIs registered with HEA. In order to facilitate easy access to ETDs at national level, efforts to establish a National Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ZANETDs) Portal are underway. However, the diversity of ETD sources poses a challenge in maintaining metadata integrity, thereby impacting the discoverability of ETD digital objects. This research sought to identify HEIs with functional Institutional Repositories (IRs), assess the relative quality of ETD metadata from these repositories, and explore methods to address missing metadata elements. A questionnaire was distributed to all 61 HEIs to ascertain the presence of functional and interoperable IRs. Additionally, ETD metadata from HEIs with functional IRs were harvested using the OAI-PMH protocol and analysed to evaluate metadata completeness. Furthermore, a combination of document analysis of policy documents and content analysis of randomly sampled ETD manuscripts from HEIs with functional IRs was conducted to identify potential sources of missing metadata. The findings indicate that out of 61 HEIs, only 10 (16.39%) had implemented functional IRs. Moreover, the analysis of ETD metadata reveals non-compliance with the ETD-MS metadata standard established by the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations. Variations in the location of certain ETD-MS metadata elements across HEIs were observed. Identified sources of missing ETD-MS metadata elements from IRs present opportunities for automated extraction techniques to generate missing metadata, thereby facilitating the successful implementation of the ZANETDs portal and improving the visibility of ETDs in Zambia. It is therefore recommended that; all IRs be compliant to the de facto metadata schema for possible system collaboration at local and international level and there is also need to design an intelligent system that would automatically generate the missing ETD metadata elements for improved visibility of research output.
Thesis of Master of Library and Information Science