Norwegian version

Information Systems based on Metadata (METAINFO)

The METAINFO research group investigates how to improve people’s access to digital information.

Information systems contain and convey vast amounts of information. This places high requirements on system design and interoperability. At the same time, information systems must be seen in the context of users’ information related activities.

Our attention is on digital information systems, often in combination with other sources of information. Hence, we do not see information systems as isolated tools, but analyse them in light of information behaviour, system interaction, metadata generation and utilization, metadata modelling, automatic knowledge extraction and system infrastructures.

The aim of our work is to improve people’s ability to solve work related tasks, to respond to their needs in everyday life and to fulfil recreational purposes.

Head of research group

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  • Members

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  • More about the research group

    Our research focuses on the following topics

    Architecture for metadata-based systems

    A robust and secure infrastructure is a precondition for the effectiveness of metadata based information systems. In MetaInfo we do research on building and development of such infrastructures.

    Automatic indexing and knowledge extraction

    This research field concentrates on document and entity retrieval using full texts, curated metadata as well as user-created data. The research touches areas such as search in digitized books, automated semantic-aware tasks (like verifying of statements) and recommender systems. We use traditional retrieval methods, often in combination with more novel approaches such as machine learning.

    Human-computer interaction

    Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) is a quite broad field engaged in how people and computers communicate, with a particular emphasis on user interfaces. Research in this field typically apply a broad set of methods, from eye-tracking to search logs. HCI is related to fields such as information seeking behaviour and universal design. The latter has become an important topic in HCI-research, with a focus on how to design systems that may be used by all people despite differences in gender, age, cultural background and disabilities.


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    Information behaviour

    The research field Information Behaviour aims at understanding people’s use of information and prerequisites for ease of access to relevant information. Information related activities of broad scope – such as information needs, seeking, searching, distribution, sharing, production, assessing – are considered in connection with use of various kinds of information and information (re)sources in a diversity of situations, tasks, processes and environments within the settings of private life, work and education. The information related activities are approached from perspectives of individuals (emphasising personality traits or cognitive and motivational capacities) as well as practices (emphasising contextual, explicit and implicit constructions and relationships). Studies within the research field of Information behaviour connect and contribute to fields such as Interactive Information Retrieval (IIR), Information/Knowledge Management, System Development and Implementation, Design of Digital Information Milieus, Information literacy and Workplace Learning.


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    Interactive information retrieval

    Interactive information retrieval (IIR) asks the question: Can people use this system to retrieve relevant information? Hence, the focus is on users’ interaction with information retrieval systems and their satisfaction with the retrieved information in different situations and contexts, for different purposes and different types of information needs, as well as for different groups of users. As a result, IIR centres on evaluation and methods for evaluation.


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    Metadata modelling and interoperability

    Metadata describes and conceptualizes data and resources from different universes of discourse. They are generated by people or collected automatically. Currently they are found in immense quantities and are used in a variety of contexts and for a variety of purposes. In spite of such variations, metadata usually have in common that they correspond to a standard or specified schema that represents a given semantic and structural model. Such standards may be essential for user interfaces, for interoperability between information systems or for document management in an organization. As a research field, metadata and their models represent various problems and challenges related to data quality and to semantic, technical and organizational interoperability.


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    Semantic web 

    Cultural heritage institutions are actively exploring the opportunities presented by the emerging web of data. Libraries, archives and museums are publishing data and developing ontologies and vocabularies. Such profound technological changes create an acute need for research and evaluation. In addition, core concepts from library and information science, such as naming, classification and identification are increasingly relevant within the wider context of the evolving.


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    Subject representation in bibliographic metadata

    The subject of a document inform the user about the content of a document. To establish and use subject languages are important in Library and Information Science. In retrieval systems, subject representations are available as access points together with other metadata such as titles, tags, abstracts and full-text. Thus, research in subject representation includes the study of all possible subject access points, both the subject languages themselves and the use of them as part of an information retrieval system.


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    PhD projects: "Effektivisering av søke- og screeningprosessen til systematiske oversikter".

    Contact: Mariann Mathisen

    Tagging and folksonomies

    To facilitate information management and information retrieval, several standards and controlled vocabularies have been developed to secure consistent ways of describing documents. The advent of web technologies made it possible for end-users to describe and manage their own and others’ resources using ‘tags’. Research on tagging and folksonomies (the accumulated and evolving set of tags created by users for describing a collection of resources) is important in order to understand how users organize information, to improve controlled vocabularies and to create better IR systems.


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  • Projects

    The research projects in this research group is linked to the main topics found under "More about the research group".


    Arcquarium is about the integration between the Norwegian recordkeeping standard Noark and blockchain technology. Our aim is to study the role blockchain can have on the various phases of the recordkeeping life cycle. We distinguish  between recordkeeping structure and content and explore what additional value society can derive from integrating these two research areas.

    Contact: Thomas Sødring


    The primary purpose of the Torch Project has been to support the conversion of the program description archives of NRK (the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation), so that it can interoperate with other cultural heritage data. The size of the material requires automatic reordering of prose text (in which programs are documented) into semantic units that can be understood by computer programs for the sake of interpretation, precise search tasks and interlinking. By its nature, the project also looks at special problems associated with knowledge extraction of Norwegian textual material.

    Contact: Michael Preminger


    CLEF (pronounced CLEI) is an annual conference that, in addition to the more conventional paper presentation sessions also has labs. Labs are joint efforts, typically of several years’ duration, where researchers from different research groups work on common sets of problems using collaboratively collected sets of data, presenting their own solutions to those. Over several years, researchers from METAINFO have been participating in the social book track (searching in digitized books using full texts, metadata and user-created data), as well as the interactive track.

    PhD projects:

    • "Intelligent Recommender Systems". Contact: Christer Hadland
    • "Named entities as metadata for cultural expressions". Contact:  Anne-Stine Ruud Husevåg
    • Ontology-based Information Extraction from Semi-structured Cultural Heritage metadata. Contact: David Massey

    Search and find? An accessibility study of dyslexia and information retrieval

    The PhD project addresses how dyslexia affects information search, a topic which has received little attention in previous research. A total of 42 students (21 dyslexics and 21 controls) completed three experiments; one visual search experiment and two information retrieval experiments in the Web search engine Google and the academic library catalogue Bibsys Ask. Eye tracking and screen recording documented the searching. The main finding regarding query formulation was that dyslexia had a negative effect on search performance in systems with a low tolerance for errors. However, in the search system with a high tolerance for errors, this negative effect was removed. It was also investigated whether dual-modality interfaces with icons and words may support dyslexics during result list assessment. The conclusion was that when dual modalities are presented in a list layout, distanced to make icons and words not concurrently appearing in the central visual field, graphic content may seem helpful and also seems to counteract the negative impact of dyslexia. The overall conclusion to this study was that well-designed search user interfaces may counteract the impact of dyslexia.

    Project manager: Gerd Berget

    PhD projects: "Towards Inclusive User Models for Inclusive Information Services in Digital Libraries". Contact: Malualem Wondwossen Beyene


    In the BIB-MEEM project we investigate the information search and seeking behaviour of users in a large academic library.

    PhD projects:

    • "A request-based framework for FRBR00 graphical representation: With emphasis on heterogeneous cultural information needs". Contact: Maliheh Farrokhnia
    • "Serious leisure – serious information practices? A study of information activities related to needle craft, with emphasis on digital information environments". Contact: Tine Lodberg Frost

    INEX interactive track

    The INEX interactive track (iTrack) was run as a subtrack of Initiative for the Evaluation of XML retrieval (INEX) every year from 2004 to 2010. It was part of the DELOS network of excellence under EU’s Sixth Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP6). MetaInfo members coordinated the iTrack. Participating groups have followed a standard procedure for collecting data on end users performing search tasks in an experimental setting. This has made it possible to collect large data sets on user-system interaction under controlled conditions.

    CLEF Social book search

    The Social Book Search (SBS) Lab investigates book search in scenarios where users search with more than just a query, and look for more than objective metadata. Real-world information needs are generally complex, yet almost all research focuses instead on either relatively simple search based on queries or recommendation based on profiles. The goal is to research and develop techniques to support users in complex book search tasks.

    PhD projects: "Brukerorientert design og evaluering av nettstedsøk". Contact: Inger Beate Nylund

    Quality of bibliographic metadata

    We investigate the quality of bibliographic metadata combining different methods to evaluate it from the perspectives of both the end users and the system.

    PhD projects: "The quality of metadata structures: transition, interoperability and data models in the bibliographic universe". Contact: Kim Tallerås

    CLEF Social book search

    The Social Book Search (SBS) Lab investigates book search in scenarios where users search with more than just a query, and look for more than objective metadata. In the SBS we combine formal descriptions and metadata about books with end users own descriptions, including tags.

    Peopleless offices – The role and flows of information in digital workplaces

    This research seeks to advance knowledge on what happens with practices related to information when the physical setting of a workplace loses its primacy and work is instead carried out in an elusive digital workplace.

    Peopleless offices – The role and flows of information in digital workplaces

    Contact: Katriina Byström