May 272011

We were recently at UW-Madison to visit with Dr. Barry T Radler and the MIDUS longitudinal survey. We are working with them to document their series of longitudinal studies in DDI 3 to enable the generation of very detailed and cross linked codebooks. During our meeting Dr. Radler mentioned that the way the search results on Colectica Web were listed could be improved, as they were currently ordered based solely on information specific to each individual item.

Colectica Web offers faceted searching of DDI items, and even searching within arbitrary sets such as a specific study, instance, package, scheme, etc. The question is how to return the results with the most relevant DDI 3 item listed first. DDI 3 allows for massive reuse of items through its referencing mechanisms. For example, the same concept can be used to describe multiple questions or the same code scheme can be the representation of many different variables. Colectica Repository tracks all of this extra relationship and contextual information about DDI items, so we decided to use it in the search rankings.

Introducing DDI 3 metadata ranking

The search results, show for Gender above, now use not only the information from the DDI 3 item for ranking, they also take into account the how often an item is reused and harmonized across waves of this longitudinal study.

This is also a great new feature for users of Colectica Designer. When a user opens the item picker to create a reference, their search results will also list the most reused items more prominently. This will help users find the items that already have the most influence and increase the comparability of their published research. Please let me know what you think of the new search rankings or if you have any ideas for how they can be even further refined.


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