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Theoretical Availability versus Practical Accessibility: The Critical Role of Metadata Management in Open Data Portals

Institute of Landscape Development, Recreation and Conservation Planning, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna 1180, Austria
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Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 545; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10020545
Received: 26 December 2017 / Revised: 9 February 2018 / Accepted: 15 February 2018 / Published: 19 February 2018
As a consequence of policies such as the EU Public Sector Initiative, authorities across Europe have been moving towards providing free access to a wide range of statistical data and in particular geodata. From the diverse end-users’ perspective (general public, interest groups, students, other authorities, etc.), access to data requires specific knowledge, methods, and guidance in identifying and using the relevant content. Metadata are a key concept for the description and classification of data and thus also for ensuring their long-term value. We analyze the European Data Portal as well as one national metadatabase (Austrian Data Portal) with regard to aspects such as data search functionality, keyword consistency, spatial referencing, data format and data license information. In both cases, we found extensive inconsistencies and conceptual weaknesses that heavily limit the practical accessibility. The mere presence of metadata is no indicator for the usability of the data. We argue for a better definition and structuring of the interface between the numerous data providers and the metadatabases. View Full-Text
Keywords: metadata quality; open government data; open data access metadata quality; open government data; open data access
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Schauppenlehner, T.; Muhar, A. Theoretical Availability versus Practical Accessibility: The Critical Role of Metadata Management in Open Data Portals. Sustainability 2018, 10, 545.

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