by on

Behind the Scenes

MPublishing has gradually been rolling out a redesigned interface for many of our publications, including digitalculturebooks, The Journal of Electronic Publishing, and Feminist Studies. In addition to looking and behaving a whole lot nicer, this new design also incorporates some important new functionality.

Each article or book now contains Dublin Core metadata stored in metadata tags and RDFa. One reason for doing this was to provide search engines with additional information about our collections. This helps the search engine do a better job of determining relevance the relevance of an article to a search query, and allows for more informative search results such as rich snippets.

Another reason to embed this semantic information is to provide machine-readable information to other applications and services, facilitating the dynamic discovery of links between data providers and consumers. For example, Creative Commons creates machine-readable licenses using RDFa to help third-party tools find appropriately-licensed resources, and Facebook offers the Open Graph Protocol so content providers enhance their presence in social networks.

More recently, we’ve enhanced these publications further to support COinS (ContextObjects in Spans), a microformat developed particularly to embed citation information. This extends the types information we can provide to tools that focus more on scholarly needs.

For example, the citation manager Zotero knows how to read COinS. So, when viewing one of our publications in a browser with Zotero installed, a folder icon will appear in the URL bar.

By clicking on the folder, a user can save one or many articles to their Zotero library.

Future Work

Google, Microsoft and Yahoo! recently announced their preference for, which offers a rich hierarchy of properties that will enhance search meta data. We will investigate the use of microdata and the vocabulary, and additionally we can test our open access collections against the Rich Snippets Testing Tool to help promote our findability.  Additionally, we have developed a detailed plan to improve the accessibility of these publications. We will discuss this in more detail in a future post.

Comments are closed.