Improving  Metadata  and  Facets  for  Items  on  Etsy.

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Unsearchable  and  Unsellable:  Improving  Metadata   and  Facets  for  Items  on  Etsy.com  
by  Carrie  Campbell,  Ivan  Gomes,  Ryan  Greenway  &  Michelle  Lopez   INLS  520,  UNC  –  CH   December  15,  2010        

Improving  Metadata  and  Facets  for  Items  on  Etsy.com  2    

Table  of  Contents  
Table  of  Contents  ........................................................................................................................................  2   Abstract  .......................................................................................................................................................  3   Problem  Statement  .....................................................................................................................................  4   Background  ..............................................................................................................................................  4   Collection  .................................................................................................................................................  5   Users  ........................................................................................................................................................  6   Ideal  System   .............................................................................................................................................  7   Challenges   ................................................................................................................................................  8   Content  Sample,  Weird  Items  ...................................................................................................................  10   Reflections  .............................................................................................................................................  10   Facets  to  Organize  the  Collection  ..............................................................................................................  12   List  of  Facets  ..........................................................................................................................................  12   Example  Interfaces  for  Faceted  Browsing  .................................................................................................  16   Related  Items  Web  Nav  .........................................................................................................................  16   Relation  Browser  ...................................................................................................................................  18   Flamenco-­‐Style  Facets  ...........................................................................................................................  19   Faceted  Breadcrumbs  ............................................................................................................................  20   Metadata  Specification  ..............................................................................................................................  21   Schema  Elements  ..................................................................................................................................  22   Description  of  the  System  and  Implementation  ........................................................................................  28   Examples  of  High-­‐Quality  Metadata  Records  for  Sample  Items  ............................................................  30   Timeline  and  Cost  for  Content  Management  Redesign  .........................................................................  32   References  .................................................................................................................................................  35   Appendix  A  –  Draft  of  Faceted  Structure  ...................................................................................................  36   Appendix  B  –  External  Links  .......................................................................................................................  37        

Improving  Metadata  and  Facets  for  Items  on  Etsy.com  3    

Abstract  
The  online  marketplace  Etsy  specializes  in  handcrafted  items.  Given  its  inherent  uniqueness,   merchandise  of  this  type  often  defies  standard  classifications,  posing  a  persistent  challenge  to  shoppers   who  wish  to  find  or  re-­‐find  particular  items.  At  the  same  time,  sellers,  who  are  responsible  for  providing   tags  and  other  metadata,  have  little  guidance  or  incentive  to  standardize  their  terminology.  This  adds   yet  another  level  of  unpredictability  to  the  item-­‐search  process.  The  authors  propose  a  refinement  of   Etsy's  database  structure  to  improve  shoppers'  search  results  and,  by  extension,  the  entire  shopping   experience.  After  analyzing  a  representative  subset  of  the  venue's  inventory  and  examining  the  needs  of   respective  user  groups,  they  describe  an  ideal  system  that  could  solve  the  most  glaring  organizational   issues.  Appropriate  facets,  standardized  metadata,  and  input  formats  are  specified.  The  authors  also   suggest  several  alternate  interfaces  that  could  capitalize  more  effectively  on  the  inventory's  existing  and   new  metadata.    Logistical  issues  such  as  workflow  management  and  techniques  for  guiding  sellers   toward  standard  terminology  are  discussed.  Along  with  the  implementation  of  a  controlled  vocabulary,   spot  audits  are  recommended  in  order  to  maintain  metadata  quality.    

 
 

 

Improving  Metadata  and  Facets  for  Items  on  Etsy.com  4    

Problem  Statement  
Background  
There  are  many  online  marketplaces,  but  Etsy  remains  unique  with  a  focus  on  non-­‐professional   shops  that  sell  only  handcrafted  goods.  Currently  Etsy  is  available  in  France,  Germany,  the  United   Kingdom,  and  the  United  States  of  America.  There  is  also  a  fledgling  chapter  in  Italy.  The  US  site  alone   has  1.9  million  users,  and  more  than  600,000  items  are  posted  every  month  in  categories  such  as  art,   ceramics,  clothing,  furniture,  plants,  and  many  more.  The  site’s  display  pages  emphasize  the  most   recently  posted  goods  and  the  most  popular  sellers,  but  Etsy.com  also  has  a  keyword  search  feature.     Consequently  at  Etsy.com  new  sellers  have  a  hard  time  getting  exposure.  This  is  an  issue  not  just   for  those  sellers,  but  also  for  the  community  as  a  whole.  Sellers  represent  a  large  fraction  of  the  user   population,  and  probably  make  purchases  as  well  as  posting  items.  Therefore  if  new  users  do  not  get   sufficiently  exposed  to  sell  their  items,  we  will  see  a  leveling-­‐out  and  eventual  decline  in  new   membership  and  sales.  Everyone  will  see  reduced  growth  in  revenue.  Part  of  this  problem  is  that  more   seasoned  sellers  know  how  to  maneuver  within  the  Etsy  interface  and  post  with  keywords  that  bring   buyers,  while  new  sellers  are  still  coming  up  to  speed  with  the  interface  and  the  marketing.  The  other   part  of  the  problem  is  that  searching  Etsy.com  can  be  simply  frustrating  for  users  who  have  only   categories,  relevancy,  and  recency  as  search  parameters.   Unfortunately,  the  keyword  search  defaults  to  returning  the  most  recent  posts.  Even  though   Etsy  searches  the  titles  and  descriptions,  relevancy  does  not  work  because  sellers  do  not  enter  many   details.  A  relevancy  search  for  “blue  ribbon”  returned  a  Pabst  Blue  Ribbon  necklace.  This  massive   collection  needs  some  refining  to  help  the  users  find  what  they  want  to  buy,  and  the  sellers  reach  their   customers.  New  sellers  may  need  assistance  to  ensure  their  posted  items  automatically  get  displayed  to   Etsy  customers.  

Improving  Metadata  and  Facets  for  Items  on  Etsy.com  5      

Collection  
The  collection  we  will  organize  for  this  project  is  the  merchandise  of  the  website  Etsy   (etsy.com),  an  online  venue  where  non-­‐commercial  crafters/manufacturers  sell  their  wares.  For   purposes  of  this  project,  we  will  be  focusing  on  one  subset  that  particularly  calls  out  for  better   organization:  the  “Weird”  subgroup  in  the  “Everything  Else”  category.  Typical  items  include  rock   samples,  animal  skulls,  odd-­‐looking  stuffed  dolls,  offbeat  rubber  stamps,  anatomical  specimens,  unusual   sculptures,  and  the  like.     These  inventory  items  are  physical  objects,  but  they  are  presented  within  the  confines  of  this   virtual  catalog.  Items  are  constantly  being  added  to  this  stock,  and  items  are  constantly  being  sold  and   removed.  (Hence  a  clear  method  of  re-­‐finding  past  items  is  crucial.  Without  that,  a  prospective  buyer   who’s  having  trouble  re-­‐finding  an  object  may  never  know  if  his/her  difficulty  results  from  the  item   having  been  sold,  or  from  the  shortcomings  of  the  existing  tools/structures  for  re-­‐finding.)  Each   handmade  object  offered  for  sale  comprises  one  "unit  of  analysis."     Some  searchable  aspects  of  the  wares:  theme/motif  (e.g.,  skulls  and  skeletons),  color(s),  size,   materials,  function,  price,  location  of  seller  (relevant  for  shipping  purposes),  preferred  form  of  payment,   shipping-­‐related  package  info  (e.g.,  fragile/non-­‐fragile/liquid).  All  of  these  attributes  should  be   addressed  by  the  structure  of  the  organizational  system.     Some  of  the  items  have  relationships  to  one  another  (for  example,  several  items  in  an  artistic   series,  such  as  three  Dehydrated  Mini  Jack-­‐O-­‐Lanterns  listed  in  succession);  many  relate  to  the  outside   world  as  well,  containing  references  to  historical  events/periods,  famous  corporate  brands,  celebrities,   or  well-­‐known  cultural  happenings.      

Improving  Metadata  and  Facets  for  Items  on  Etsy.com  6    

  Users    
Etsy  has  a  huge  community  of  more  than  1.9  million  users,  which  includes  both  the  sellers  and   the  buyers  of  the  various  wares  (Takac,  2009).  (Those  numbers  do  not  include  Etsy  staffers  or  general   browsers  who  do  not  have  an  account.)  All  of  those  different  users  have  unique  needs.   Sellers’  needs  pertaining  to  the  collection  are  much  broader  than  just  posting  their  items  on  the   website.  Sellers  also  want  to  retrieve  information  about  items  they  have  sold  to  determine  what   products  move  the  fastest  and  are  the  most  profitable.  They  also  want  to  look  at  the  products  offered   by  their  competition,  so  that  they  can  improve  their  brand.  However,  their  main  use  of  the  collection  is   to  be  able  to  list  items  easily  so  that  they  appear  before  customers.     That  may  not  be  an  easy  task,  given  the  amount  of  merchandise  on  the  website.  Etsy  sellers  post   more  than  600,000  items  per  month,  each  with  up  to  five  pictures  (‘winenutnyc’,  2008).  The  result  is  a   huge  collection  that  sellers  and  buyers  alike  often  find  daunting  to  search  though,  especially  since   posted  items  can  remain  on  the  website  for  up  to  four  months.     At  any  given  time,  a  buyer  may  have  to  search  through  as  many  as  2.4  million  items  to  find  their   treasure.  Perhaps  the  buyer  wants  to  look  at  new  items,  search  for  a  specific  seller,  or  browse  through  a   category  such  as  jewelry.  Eventually,  they  will  decide  to  purchase  an  item  or  stop  their  search.  The   buyers  need  searching  flexibility,  but  they  also  need  reliability.  With  so  many  sellers  and  postings,  the   real  question  is  whether  a  buyer  can  re-­‐find  an  item  or  seller.  A  buyer’s  aptitude  with  the  interface  can   be  a  major  factor  in  their  success  in  finding  or  re-­‐finding  an  item.  New  users  can  easily  become  lost  and   confused,  especially  with  Etsy’s  special  features  such  as  ‘Color  Search’,  ‘Pounce  Search’,  and  ‘Alchemy   Request’  (Takac,  2009).  With  the  number  of  goods,  the  many  ways  to  view  and  purchase,  and  the  poor   organization,  many  buyers  with  a  realized  need  can  be  deterred  from  using  the  system.    

Improving  Metadata  and  Facets  for  Items  on  Etsy.com  7     Finally,  the  Etsy  collection  is  maintained  and  used  by  the  company’s  staff.  Database  staffers   maintain,  monitor,  and  improve  their  databases,  which  hold  many  millions  of  records.  One  or  more   employees  monitor  system  usage.  While  their  work  centers  on  making  the  system  easier  to  use  for  the   buyers  and  sellers,  they  probably  do  not  focus  on  the  tasks  of  adding  to  the  collection  and  searching  the   collection.  More  likely,  they  are  looking  at  various  access  statistics  and  the  paths  of  the  users  traveling   through  the  system.    

Ideal  System  
An  ideal  organization  system  for  our  collection  would  be  a  website  that  is  unimposing,  clean   (but  not  sterile),  and  representative  of  the  handmade  items  that  are  the  collection  itself,  i.e.,  homey.  As   with  almost  any  e-­‐commerce  site,  the  collection  on  Etsy.com  needs  to  be  accessible,  welcoming,   personalized,  and  understandable.  The  ideal  site  would  also  provide  exposure  for  both  power  sellers  and   sellers  who  are  just  entering  the  arena.  This  would  ensure  that  every  seller  gets  a  fair  chance  to  make   money;  by  doing  so,  it  would  continue  to  attract  new  sellers  and  generate  more  revenue  for  Etsy.com   and  its  community.   Search  and  advanced  search  (filtered  search)  are  critical  to  making  a  retail  collection  accessible.   Customers  have  to  be  able  to  find  whatever  they  are  looking  for  —  whether  or  not  they  specifically   know  what  that  is  —  within  an  acceptable  amount  of  time.  In  web  design,  that  is  often  measured  by  the   “three-­‐click  rule.”  (Zeldman,  2001)  Within  three  mouse  clicks,  a  user  should  be  able  to  reach  a  target   that  is  useful  or  acceptable  to  them.   Among  the  attributes  that  online  shoppers  search  for  are  item  type,  color,  price  range,  and   brand  (which  might  be  defined  as  the  seller  or  store  site  in  this  case).  Sellers  provide  some  of  this   information  in  tags  to  help  their  items  get  found,  but  shortcomings  still  hamper  the  system.  We  intend   to  explore  how  Etsy.com  could  use  tags  and  categorization  more  effectively.  

Improving  Metadata  and  Facets  for  Items  on  Etsy.com  8     Sorting  remains  a  big  issue  for  this  collection.  In  this  regard,  Etsy.com  can  be  compared  to   ebay.com,  because  both  sites  feature  multiple  sellers  with  multiple  items  for  sale.  Ebay.com  customers   seem  more  likely  to  be  seeking  specific  items,  however,  while  Etsy.com  shoppers  are  more  likely  to   browse  the  site  first,  due  to  the  uniqueness  of  the  products  being  sold.  For  example,  whereas  an   ebay.com  shopper  may  type  “Macbook  Pro”  in  the  search  field  on  ebay.com’s  homepage,  an  Etsy.com   shopper  may  want  to  informally  browse  knitted  baby  clothes.  Whether  the  customer  is  able  to  do  that,   or  even  to  find  specific  items  by  a  simple  keyword  search,  depends  on  how  effectively  the  Etsy  seller   describes  her  product.   Just  as  the  ambiance  of  a  store  or  salon  can  define  and  enhance  a  customer’s  brick-­‐and-­‐mortar   retail  experience,  the  organization  and  aesthetics  of  a  website  can  also  have  a  persuasive  effect  on   users.  At  first  glance  it  is  clear  that  the  Etsy.com  site  would  benefit  from  some  restructuring.  It  may  take   only  a  few  minutes  for  a  user  to  get  turned  off  by  the  interface.  Currently,  Etsy.com  resembles  a   rummage  sale.  The  jewel  may  be  there,  but  often  finding  it  requires  going  through  piles  and  piles  of   other  stuff.  The  ideal  organizational  system  would  make  the  customer’s  online  shopping  experience  flow   without  obstruction.  It  would  allow  the  website  to  act  almost  as  a  personal  shopper,  its  main  function   being  to  help  the  customer  find  what  he  or  she  needs  or  wants  with  no  stress  or  frustration.  In  fact,  the   shopping  experience  should  be  easy  and  enjoyable  enough  to  bring  shoppers  back  time  and  time  again.   That  ideal  system  would  also  track  numerous  additional  attributes  of  this  collection.  Some  of   these  are  sellers,  products,  favorites,  prices,  store  sites,  users,  transactions,  and  categories.    

Challenges    
Etsy’s  social  commerce  business  model  brings  with  it  many  challenges  for  seller  and  buyers.   When  a  seller  adds  an  item  to  the  store,  the  item’s  name,  tags  and  picture  all  play  important  roles  in   categorization,  but  there  is  no  controlled  vocabulary  to  describe  them  and  minimal  metadata  quality  

Improving  Metadata  and  Facets  for  Items  on  Etsy.com  9     control.  Sloppy  or  unscrupulous  sellers  might  tag  items  inaccurately  (in  order  to  gain  more  page  views,   perhaps),  but  the  size  of  the  collection  makes  it  impractical  and  ineffective  for  staffers  to  confirm  each   listing’s  metadata.  Photos  of  the  items  can  be  catalogued  for  search  based  on  color,  but  identification   software’s  ability  to  avoid  miscategorization  based  on,  say,  background  scenery  may  be  an  issue.     Etsy’s  collection  includes  a  number  of  items  that  bend  and  transcend  common  categories,  or  fall   under  multiple  categories;  this  fluid  nature  makes  an  effective,  advanced  search  system  necessary.   However,  we  can  expect  Etsy  users  in  general  to  be  not  technically  inclined.  Thus  we  need  a  simple,   powerful  search  tool  that  can  handle  complexity.   The  collection’s  commercial,  always-­‐changing  nature  presents  additional  challenges.  Although   there  is  a  constant  flow  of  items  into  and  out  of  the  collection,  some  stagnant  items  may  remain  for   weeks  and  months.  How  do  we  treat  each  item  fairly  while  keeping  new  and  fresh  products  most   visible?  Should  items  posted  by  longstanding  and  popular  sellers  be  given  preference  in  the  form  of   greater  visibility?  If  page  views  can  increase  an  item’s  or  seller’s  “PageRank,”  click-­‐farm  techniques  may   be  used  along  with  other  hacks;  a  large  user  base  and  profit  motive  suggest  that  Etsy  will  have  to  deal   with  this  kind  of  problem  regularly.  We  can  examine  how  other  commercial  sites  deal  with  these  issues   to  glean  some  insight  for  our  system’s  best  solutions.   Other  issues  to  be  considered  involve  the  nature  of  the  seller.  How  should  a  seller’s  reputation   affect  his  or  her  items?  While  wares  from  popular  sellers  certainly  generate  revenue,  listings  from  new   sellers  do  as  well.  A  balance  is  needed,  and  could  be  calculated  based  on  some  combination  of  the  rate   of  sales  and  an  analysis  of  buyer  reviews.     We  will  use  thought  scenarios  and  experience  with  similar  setups  in  other  applications  (such  as   Amazon  and  various  online  stores)  to  examine  the  viability  of  suggested  changes  to  the  current  Etsy   organizational  system.  Our  highest  priority,  of  course,  is  to  treat  items  and  sellers  in  a  manner  that   promotes  a  fair  market.      

Improving  Metadata  and  Facets  for  Items  on  Etsy.com  10    

Content  Sample,  Weird  Items  
Our  content  sample  is  available  at       https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0AsbWcFiZHMS4dENnNTJTNGlEOG9taTV1LXJHOWgtTmc&hl =en&authkey=CO2FuYoG    

Reflections  
Our  “Everything  Else/Weird”  collection  is  notable  for  being  far  more  disjointed  than  a  typical   collection.  We  previously  believed  that  the  items  shared  not  a  particular  quality  but  rather  a  lack  of   qualities  required  for  all  other  Etsy  categories,  an  “all  else”  category.  Then  we  noted  that  some  items  fall   under  multiple  categories.  For  example,  we  see  a  T-­‐shirt  categorized  under  “Weird”  and  “T-­‐shirt,”  but   elsewhere  on  the  site,  the  identical  women’s  T-­‐shirt  by  the  same  seller  is  only  categorized  under  “T-­‐ shirt.”  So  in  fact  our  chosen  subcategory  is  not  necessarily  a  catchall  for  “miscellaneous”  items;  “weird”   appears  to  be  just  another  tag.  Consequently  we  believe  that  Etsy.com’s  current  merchandise  categories   are  nothing  more  than  user-­‐supplied  tags  chosen  as  “categories”  on  the  basis  of  their  popularity   (frequency  of  use).     This  is  a  particularly  important  issue  at  Etsy.com  because  here,  unlike  many  online  catalogues,   an  item  may  appear  under  many  so-­‐called  “categories.”  In  other  words,  it  would  behoove  all  sellers  to   tag  their  items  with  as  many  relevant  (and  perhaps  even  somewhat  irrelevant)  metadata  as  possible  in   order  to  increase  page  views.  The  irrelevant  tags  create  confusion  and  may  even  constitute  an  ethical   problem,  in  that  they  mislead  potential  customers.  (In  Etsy’s  Terms  of  Use  document,  it  reads,  “You   must  accurately  describe  your  item  and  all  terms  of  sale  in  your  Etsy  shop...  All  items  must  be  listed  in  an   appropriate  category  with  appropriate  tags.”  In  the  case  of  user  transgressions,  Etsy  management  takes   this  passive  —  though  legally  defensible  —  stance:  “Etsy  is  a  venue  and  as  such  is  not  responsible  or   liable  for  any  content,  for  example,  data,  text,  information,  usernames,  graphics,  images,  photographs,   profiles,  audio,  video,  items,  and  links  posted  by  you,  other  users,  or  outside  parties  on  Etsy.  You  use  the  

Improving  Metadata  and  Facets  for  Items  on  Etsy.com  11     Etsy  service  at  your  own  risk.”)    This  mislabeling  is  comparable  to  the  improper  advertisement  of  web   pages  for  the  purpose  of  increasing  page  hits,  so  we  anticipate  being  able  to  use  strategies  and  materials   related  to  that  problem  in  our  own  organization  efforts.   Also  note  that  there  are  a  large  number  of  identical  items  offered  on  Etsy,  such  as  T-­‐shirts.  This   may  be  because,  like  eBay,  and  unlike  Amazon’s  persistent  postings,  an  item  is  removed  from  the   catalogue  once  purchased.  Therefore,  in  order  to  sell  a  sizable  number  of  T-­‐shirts,  the  seller  must   “flood”  the  catalogue  with  many  instances  of  the  same  item  (or  a  large  number  of  “tokens”  of  the  same   “type”).          

Improving  Metadata  and  Facets  for  Items  on  Etsy.com  12    

Facets  to  Organize  the  Collection  
In  our  list  of  facets,  we  have  organized  them  in  order  of  priority.  There  are  two  facets  that  we   want  to  note:  the  seller’s  status  and  the  item  category.  The  seller’s  status  will  be  a  combination  of   factors  that  will  help  to  put  the  seller  into  one  of  three  categories,  either  a  seasoned/popular  seller,  a   newbie,  or  a  poor/unpopular  seller.  Then,  when  a  user  searches  the  system,  the  front-­‐end  will  return   results  from  those  three  populations  with  a  pre-­‐determined  percentage  (we  suggest  50%  season  -­‐  30%   newbies  -­‐  20%  poor/unpopular  to  begin).  This  will  1)  promote  new  sellers  and  2)  give  the   underperforming  sellers  another  chance  while  3)  maintaining  exposure  for  those  seasoned  sellers  who   bring  home  the  bacon.   Secondly,  users  are  accustomed  to  category  searches,  so  we  want  to  retain  the  top-­‐level   categorical  search  but  have  the  categories  refined.  The  faceted  approach  will  mean  that  sellers  will  need   to  spend  a  little  more  time  creating  posts  because  a  lot  of  this  information  is  not  captured  except   potentially  through  the  use  of  keywords.  However,  we  can  automate  some  of  the  fields  with  a  seller’s   profile  (see  appendix  A  for  a  draft  of  the  facet  structure).    

List  of  Facets   Key:  
1. The  classification  facet  name   a. The  logic  and  purpose  of  each  facet  (why  each  facet  is  useful  for  users  and  usage   scenarios).   b. The  organization  structure  of  each  facet.   1. Sold  status   a. This  facet  is  useful  because  the  main  goal  of  our  commercial  system  involves  making   purchases  (buyer’s  POV)  and  conducting  transactions  (system’s  POV).  Therefore,  it  is   obviously  advantageous  for  a  buyer  to  view  only  unsold  items.  ).  Customers  (usually)   want  to  search  only  unsold  items,  so  we  will  usually  pre-­‐filter  on  this  facet.  With  data  

 

Improving  Metadata  and  Facets  for  Items  on  Etsy.com  13     about  transactions,  system  administrators  can  also  do  statistical  analysis  on  behalf  of   sellers  (e.g.,  “a  greater  percentage  of  Type  X  item  is  sold  than  of  any  other  type  of   item”).   b. Single-­‐value  (y/n)   2. Seller  status   a. This  facet  will  use  the  sales  pace  and  the  user  rating  to  determine  if  the  seller  should  be   in  the  newbie  group  or  the  seasoned/popular  group.  We  want  to  have  three  categories   so  that  we  can  solve  the  problem  of  new  sellers  not  getting  exposure  while  maintaining   the  presence  of  the  popular  sellers  and  also  giving  some  real  estate  to  the  sellers  that   may  not  bring  up  revenue.  The  algorithm  would  be  #of_sales/(#of_sales^0.5)  +   (#of_postings/#of_postings^0.7  -­‐   #of_sales/#of_sales^0.5)/(#of_postings/#of_postings^0.7)^0.7  +   rating*(#of_ratings/100)/rating^0.75.   b. Flat,  single-­‐value     3. Category   a. This  top-­‐level  facet  is  essential  because  many  buyers  will  come  to  the  site  with  an  idea   of  what  they’re  looking  for  —  clothing,  handbags,  jewelry,  home  decor  —  without   necessarily  having  decided  on  specific  styles  or  types  (sweater,  necklace,  ring,  vase).  This   facet  will  enable  them  to  browse,  but  with  boundaries;  from  there,  shoppers  can  drill   down  to  see  more  specific  subtypes.   b. Multi-­‐valued,  with  a  tree  structure   4. Product  Type   a. This  facet  is  better  explained  through  example:  an  item  can  be  either  handmade,   vintage,  or  a  crafting  supply.  It  does  not  conflict  with  the  above-­‐mentioned  Category   (kind  of  item):  a  handbag  could  be  either  handmade  or  vintage,  and  certain  items  (like  

Improving  Metadata  and  Facets  for  Items  on  Etsy.com  14     the  bird  vertebrae  listed  in  our  content  sample)  would  fall  under  Supplies.  This  is  useful   for  finding  a  “kind  of  kind  of  item”  (e.g.  “of  all  the  clothing  on  Etsy,  I  want  the  Vintage   kind”).   b. Tree.  See  http://www.etsy.com/search_advanced.php  for  an  example.   5. Materials   a. This  facet  describes  the  main  physical  substances  used  to  create  the  item  offered  in  the   Etsy  listing.  It  can  be  useful  for  buyers  who  want  to  find  items  made  of  similar  sub-­‐ stances  (all  items  made  of  glass,  for  example)  and  also  for  Etsy  administrators  seeking  to   compile  statistics  (such  as  the  percentage  of  postings  that  pertain  to  clothing).   b. Since  each  item  may  be  composed  of  multiple  substances,  this  facet  is  multi-­‐valued.   Each  substance,  however,  is  hierarchical  in  nature  (e.g.,  14K  gold  <  gold  <  precious   metals  <  metal).   6. Color     a. Color  is  an  important  determinant  for  buyers  on  Etsy.  This  facet  can  be  useful  for   searches  either  in  combination  with  other  facets  or  by  itself.  Buyers  may  only  want  a  red   scarf,  so  they  need  this  facet  to  narrow  their  search.  Or  perhaps  they  have  an  affinity  for   teal  and  want  to  see  all  teal  products.   b. Multi-­‐valued,  flat     7. Customizable   a. This  facet  is  useful  because  a  significant  percentage  of  items  listed  on  Etsy.com  can  be   customized  as  the  buyer  wishes  (e.g.,  by  embroidering  names  or  words  into  a  clothing   item).  A  user  might  wish  to  browse  specifically  for  items  that  can  be  customized,  or  for   items  that  cannot  but  are  ready  to  ship  immediately  (last-­‐minute  gift  shopping).  System   administrators  can  use  this  info  to  give  sellers  data  about  what  people  are  asking  for.   b. Single-­‐value  (y/n)  

Improving  Metadata  and  Facets  for  Items  on  Etsy.com  15     8. Seller   a. This  facet  identifies  the  creator  of  an  Etsy.com  listing  (or,  more  accurately,  the  name  of   the  Etsy  account  that  posted  the  item).  It  is  analogous  to  the  “artist”  facet  in  a  collection   of  music  or  art.  It  is  useful  for  buyers  in  order  to  quickly  find  all  the  items  made  by  an   individual  (for  example,  if  the  buyer  liked  the  pieces  by  a  certain  maker/seller)   b. Items  are  only  posted  by  a  single  seller,  so  this  is  flat  and  single-­‐value.        

Improving  Metadata  and  Facets  for  Items  on  Etsy.com  16    

Example  Interfaces  for  Faceted  Browsing  
Related  Items  Web  Nav  
https://docs.google.com/leaf?id=0B6Ww918T9vepMjQ4M2QxM2QtNDJmNy00M2EwLTkzMGItZGUxOTk xYzE0Njgz&hl=en  

  • The  related-­‐items  web-­‐navigation  user  interface  contains  a  section  entitled  “other  users  who   searched  this  liked…”  The  section,  set  off  to  one  side,  features  a  handful  of  recently  purchased,   highly  rated,  or  wish-­‐listed  items  that  were  a  result  of  this  keyword  search  or  a  similar  one.   • It  also  includes  a  “related  searches”  section  that  is  intended  to  help  users  refine  their  search   query.  The  phrases  here  will  be  derived  from  search  strings  other  shoppers  are  using  that  led   them  to  a  successful  transaction  (purchase,  wish-­‐list  addition,  or  flagging  the  item  as  a  favorite).  

Improving  Metadata  and  Facets  for  Items  on  Etsy.com  17     We  also  display  a  “you  recently  viewed  these  items”  box  to  help  users  navigate  and  to  create  a   customized  search  experience.  

There  are  two  additional  ways  of  finding  or  re-­‐finding  content.  The  “my  sellers”  option  enables   buyers  to  search  only  their  favorite  sellers’  shops.  (This  feature  was  not  available  when  we   began  our  analysis.  Shortly  before  we  submitted  this  proposal,  however,  Etsy.com  instituted  a   new  feature  called  “Circles  and  Activity  Feeds,”  which  allows  buyers  to  designate  and  follow   their  favorite  sellers.)  The  “buy  local”  option  allows  customers  to  promote  their  local  economy   and/or  avoid  the  cost  and  environmental  footprint  of  long-­‐distance  shipping.    

   

 

Improving  Metadata  and  Facets  for  Items  on  Etsy.com  18    

Relation  Browser  
https://docs.google.com/leaf?id=0B8bWcFiZHMS4ZjhkZWQ2OWQtM2E0NS00ZGFjLThhMjAtY2UxODg5Y mJmYzBh&hl=en  

  Relation  Browser,  level  2   https://docs.google.com/leaf?id=0B8bWcFiZHMS4YzFiZmI4ZjMtMTEwZC00YzRhLTg5Y2UtY2MyNzk2MjJ kNTY1&hl=en  

 

Improving  Metadata  and  Facets  for  Items  on  Etsy.com  19    

Flamenco-­‐Style  Facets  
https://docs.google.com/leaf?id=0BwzfqwoJE64-­‐ ZGI1ZTY0Y2YtNTBkZC00YjVkLWI3ZmUtMGE0ZGIwZDhiMzhk&hl=en  

    • Notice  the  useful  “Pick  from  Palette”  feature  within  the  Colors  facet.  Etsy  added  a   similar  “Shop  by  Color”  feature  with  dynamic  color  selector  shortly  before  we  began  this   project,  but  users  on  Etsy  community  forums  expressed  dissatisfaction  with  its  utility.   We  opted  to  improve  on  this  potentially  useful  function  by  more  closely  coordinating   the  listings’  color  metadata  (both  text  and  image)  with  the  site’s  search  function.  

Improving  Metadata  and  Facets  for  Items  on  Etsy.com  20    

Faceted  Breadcrumbs  
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1_-­‐l3aZtxeCGRiZYMZSMu90y-­‐b208ZVr0d_1JJkmtRp8/edit?hl=en#  

  • The  faceted  breadcrumb  navigation  allows  the  user  to  quickly  switch  between  values  for  each   successive  move  within  the  collection.  This  navigational  feature  primarily  applies  to  the   traditional  Etsy.com  search,  in  which  the  user  selects  a  category,  then  a  sub-­‐category,  then   filters  further  on  material/color/price.  These  facets  and  search  results  are  shown  on  the  left  to   give  shoppers  several  quick  filters  they  can  also  use  for  their  searches.   • Furthermore,  we  tagged  two  items  as  “new”  to  demonstrate  how  users  are  tagged  with  each   item;  that  attribute  should  seamlessly  inform  our  search  results.  We  do  not  currently   recommend  including  this  as  a  facet  for  users.      

Improving  Metadata  and  Facets  for  Items  on  Etsy.com  21    

Metadata  Specification  
    Although  there  are  numerous  established  metadata  schemas,  there  is  no  single  broadly  

accepted,  widely  used  schema  for  e-­‐commerce.  Even  if  there  were  an  e-­‐commerce  standard,  it  is   extremely  likely  that  it  would  need  to  be  modified  for  the  unique  needs  of  Etsy.com,  as  it  is  an  atypical   online  marketplace  with  an  uncommon  niche  of  handcrafted  goods.  Therefore,  for  our  reorganization  of   the  Etsy  collection,  we  customized  a  basic  schema  to  include  relevant  and  specialized  information.   As  metadata’s  origins  are  in  libraries,  many  formal  standards  are  used  for  purposes  closely   linked  to  library  activities,  such  as  archiving.  Examples  include  Encoded  Archival  Description  (EAD)  and   General  International  Standard  Archival  Description  (ISAD(G)).  It  would  not  be  useful  for  Etsy  to  utilize   these  types  of  schemas,  as  their  purpose  is  quite  different  from  that  of  an  online  business.  Similarly,  we   immediately  excluded  schemas  such  as  Categories  for  the  Description  of  Works  of  Art  (CDWA),  Machine-­‐ Readable  Cataloguing  (MARC),  Metadata  Object  Description  Schema  (MODS),  Public  Broadcasting   Metadata  Dictionary  (PBCore)  and  Moving  Pictures  Expert  Group  (MPEG-­‐7),  as  they  are  specifically   designed  for  collections  including  artwork,  digital  images,  video  or  audio  content,  television  or  radio   content,  and  library  resources.   Dublin  Core  is  a  standard  that  is  intended  to  be  useful  in  describing  any  type  of  resource.  It  is  in   many  ways  a  de  facto  metadata  schema  for  web  content  (Delgado  et  al.,  2001).  There  are  15  terms  in   the  Dublin  Core  Metadata  Element  Set,  to  include:  creator,  date,  source  and  subject.  In  order  to  address   the  needs  of  communities  that  are  not  met  by  this  generic,  albeit  concise  and  useful,  metadata  element   set,  the  Dublin  Core  Metadata  Initiative  (DCMI)  has  designed  the  Dublin  Core  Application  Profile  (DCAP).   DCAP  may  be  useful  in  creating  the  data  environment  of  an  online  business  such  as  Etsy,  but  further   investigation  is  required  and  goes  beyond  the  scope  of  this  paper.  In  any  event,  although  we  have   created  a  customized  element  set,  it  is  under  the  acknowledgement  that  our  set  is  representative  of  the   core  metadata  as  described  by  DCMI.  

Improving  Metadata  and  Facets  for  Items  on  Etsy.com  22    

Schema  Elements  
Taxonomy:  https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1RJwrHmtuxNzWfHfLskTIzxead8shIb-­‐ nHSj4qo2r4gI   XML  schema  example:  https://docs.google.com/document/d/1zbY_RVmt8hj88OBry4rjstMGpg-­‐ Vr8TWGKFuoqxdLDw/edit?hl=en&authkey=CIrBjcUH#   XML  listing:   https://docs.google.com/document/d/1wsYIkaoU5hXD5vO2eJuW31eigNyppQjMGDQbVj8WM54/edit?h l=en&authkey=CIaquNII#     Item  Title   Term:  itemTitle   Definition:  User-­‐entered;  title  of  the  item.  This  is  a  main  search  element.   Field  Type  &  Size:  string(250)   Mandatory:  yes   Occurrences:  1   Comments:  Users  should  be  encouraged  to  post  a  title  that  accurately  describes  the  item  and  can  entice   customers,  who  will  see  the  title  before  knowing  any  of  the  product  details.   Example:  “Tentacle  Keychain  or  Pendant”  (http://www.etsy.com/listing/55942255/tentacle-­‐keychain-­‐ or-­‐pendant?ref=cat2_gallery_7).     Description   Term:  itemDesc   Definition:  User-­‐entered;  description  of  the  product.  This  should  include  any  information  not  available   in  the  other  custom  fields,  such  as  materials,  color,  price,  category,  and  shipping.   Field  Type  &  Size:  memo  or  string  with  large  size  limit  (must  be  searchable).   Mandatory:  no   Occurrences:  1   Comments:  Aside  from  including  details  not  available  in  other  fields,  a  seller  will  be  encouraged  to   provide  specific  detail  on  the  use  and  make-­‐up  of  the  product.  Also,  they  should  include  details  for   shipping  and/or  customizability.   Example:  “Brass  tag  measures  2”  long  X  3/4”  wide.  I  will  include  a  split  ring  for  your  keys  OR  a  copper   bail  and  24”  hemp  cord.  Just  specify  when  purchasing...  I  can  make  custom  items  from  your  artwork  in   many  sizes.  Just  (email  me)!”  (http://www.etsy.com/listing/55942255/tentacle-­‐keychain-­‐or-­‐ pendant?ref=cat2_gallery_7).   Warrant:  This  is  critical  for  both  buyers  and  sellers.  A  natural-­‐language  description  is  necessary  for   sellers  to  explain  details  of  each  item  that  cannot  be  conveyed  through  other  metadata.  Any  special   information  that  the  seller  wishes  to  convey  can  be  incorporated  here  at  the  time  of  posting.          

Improving  Metadata  and  Facets  for  Items  on  Etsy.com  23     Date  Added   Term:  dateTimeAdded   Definition:  Automatically  set;  date  and  time  that  the  item  was  posted.   Field  Type  &  Size:  dateTime   Mandatory:  yes   Occurrences:  1   Default:  time  that  the  seller  posts  using  the  central  database  time.   Comments:  allows  recency  searching  in  Etsy.com.   Example:  2002-­‐05-­‐30TO9:00:00     Creator  or  Brand   Term:  creatorID   Definition:  User-­‐entered;  for  any  vintage  items,  it  will  list  the  true  creator  of  the  item  or  the  brand  name   of  that  item.   Field  Type  &  Size:  string(250)   Mandatory:  yes  for  vintage  items.   Occurrences:  0,  1   Comments:  Because  Etsy.com  allows  vintage  items,  those  should  be  searchable  also  by  the  actual   creator  as  well  as  the  Etsy  seller.  This  would  enable  the  user  to  search  for,  say,  a  certain  brand  of  vintage   Mary  Jane  shoes.  Saving  creators  in  a  separate  table  could  allow  users  to  auto-­‐select  existing  brands  and   could  show  the  number  of  items  that  have  been  listed  for  each,  in  order  to  indicate  the  scope  of  the  Etsy   inventory.  For  example,  when  they  start  typing  “Ma”  a  drop-­‐down  box  would  show  “_ry  Jane  (1,300).   Example:  stored-­‐04848578383,  displayed-­‐Mary  Jane  (http://www.etsy.com/listing/58297399/vintage-­‐ mad-­‐men-­‐mary-­‐jane-­‐shoes?ref=sc_15).     Etsy  Seller  (Poster)   Term:  sellerID   Definition:  Automatically  added;  the  ID  referencing  the  seller/poster  of  the  product.   Field  Type  &  Size:  integer   Mandatory:  yes   Occurrences:  1   Comments:  As  a  note,  browsers/searchers  will  not  search  on  the  ID  field,  but  we  are  using  the  seller  ID   in  order  to  maintain  referential  integrity  and  prevent  duplicate  tuples.   Example:  stored-­‐01020222883,  displayed-­‐EnemyAirship  (http://www.etsy.com/listing/50969533/super-­‐ mario-­‐bros-­‐65-­‐inch-­‐yoshi-­‐amigurumi?ref=cat2_gallery_10).     SellerStatus   Term:  sellerStatus   Definition:  This  is  a  rating  of  the  seller  using  an  algorithm  based  on  their  number  of  postings,  number   and  rate  of  sales,  and  their  rating  from  buyers  over  the  last  six  months  (larger  is  better).   Field  Type  &  Size:  decimal   Mandatory:  yes   Occurrences:  1  

Improving  Metadata  and  Facets  for  Items  on  Etsy.com  24     Comments:  The  status  will  allow  the  database  to  present  the  items  by  doing  a  preliminary  sort  of  the   collection  into  different  seller  groups  (newbies/seasoned)  to  give  an  equal  representation  to  all  and  to   inspire  new  sellers.   Example:  0.893884     Product  Type   Term:  itemType   Definition:  User-­‐selected;  type  of  product.   Field  Type  &  Size:  string(20)   Mandatory:  yes   Occurrences:  1   Controlled  Vocabulary:  handmade,  vintage,  crafting  supply   Comments:  The  item’s  category  is  its  assignment  to  one  of  the  three  branches  of  the  collection.  Most   sellers  post  their  goods  in  the  handmade  section.  However,  older  (vintage)  items  are  also  on  offer,  as   are  supplies  and  raw  materials  for  crafting.   Example:  Vintage     Category   Term:  category   Definition:  The  user  selects  a  category  from  a  menu.  Since  this  is  a  tree  structure,  the  seller/poster  will   need  to  select  labels  all  the  way  down  to  the  lowest  node.   Field  Type  &  Size:  string(250)   Mandatory:  yes   Occurrences:  1   Controlled  Vocabulary:  Accessories:Apron,  Accessories:Belt,  Accessories:Case...  Clothing:Children,   Clothing:Costume,  Clothing:Men...  Jewelry:Bracelet,  Jewelry:Brooch...  EverythingElse:Weird…   Comments:  Etsy  particularly  needs  to  reorganize  and  improve  this  facet.  There  are  currently  more  than   30  categories,  which  makes  searching  extremely  difficult.   Example:  Everything  Else:  Weird  (http://www.etsy.com/listing/14890469/flaming-­‐fire-­‐vintage-­‐parasol-­‐ torch).     Item  Color   Term:  itemHTMLColorCode   Definition:  User-­‐selected;  the  color(s)  of  the  product.   Field  Type  &  Size:  string(7)   Mandatory:  no   Occurrences:  0  to  unbound   Pattern:  #[0-­‐9,A-­‐F]{6}   Comments:  We  don’t  want  the  user  to  have  to  type  in  color  codes.  Instead  we  would  provide  a  small   color  wheel,  and  allow  the  user  to  indicate  a  color  by  selecting  a  spot  on  that  wheel.  The  advantage  of   saving  this  as  an  HTML  code  is  that  it  gives  us  flexibility  and  co-­‐location  for  colors.  So  a  searcher  could   rely  on  color  veracity  within  a  certain  degree  of  tolerance.   Example:  #FFFFFF  

Improving  Metadata  and  Facets  for  Items  on  Etsy.com  25       Materials   Term:  itemMaterials   Definition:  User-­‐selected;  the  materials  that  make  up  an  item,  such  as  metal  or  clothing.   Field  Type  &  Size:  string(250)   Mandatory:  yes   Occurrences:  1  to  unbound   Thesaurus:  Cloth:cotton,  cloth:wool...metal:gold,  metal:silver,  metal:brass...  organic:wood,   organic:paper...   Comments:  As  many  types  as  needed  should  be  used  to  describe  an  item.  This  means  that  a  user  can   search  for  jewelry  made  from  a  certain  metal  that  contains  a  particular  gem,  for  example.   Example:  Metal:aluminum,  metal:magnet,  (http://www.etsy.com/listing/56081446/funky-­‐junq-­‐ recycled-­‐aluminum-­‐soda-­‐pop?ref=cat2_gallery_31)     Location   Term:  itemLocation   Definition:  User-­‐selected;  the  location  in  which  the  physical  item  is  stored.   Field  Type  &  Size:  string(250)   Mandatory:  yes   Occurrences:  1   Default:  whatever  the  seller’s  location  was  at  the  time  of  posting;  determined  via  IP  tracking.   Thesaurus:  America:North  America:North  Carolina:Chapel  Hill:27599,  America:North  America:North   Carolina:Durham:27707...Europe:...   Comments:  The  user  could  search  just  by  typing  in  the  country  and  zip  code,  but  the  hierarchy   embedded  in  the  metadata  would  allow  users  to  also  browse  by  continent,  city,  state,  etc.   Example:  America:North  America:North  Carolina:Durham:27707     Price   Term:  itemPrice   Definition:  User-­‐entered;  the  base  price  of  the  item.   Field  Type  &  Size:  decimal(20,2)   Mandatory:  yes   Occurrences:  1   Comments:  This  does  not  include  shipping.   Example:  2.00  (http://www.etsy.com/listing/56081446/funky-­‐junq-­‐recycled-­‐aluminum-­‐soda-­‐ pop?ref=cat2_gallery_31)     Negotiable   Term:  fixedNegotiable   Definition:  Is  the  price  negotiable,  yes  or  no.  Set  by  the  user.   Field  Type  &  Size:  Boolean   Mandatory:  yes   Default:  no  

Improving  Metadata  and  Facets  for  Items  on  Etsy.com  26     Occurrences:  1   Comments:  Sellers  may  want  to  allow  people  to  negotiate  the  price,  or  use  this  option  for  custom   listings.   Example:  Yes     Shipping   Term:  shippingBasePrice   Definition:  User-­‐entered;  shipping  price.   Field  Type  &  Size:  decimal(20,2)   Mandatory:  yes   Occurrences:  1   Comments:  Sellers  need  to  assign  a  base  price  to  their  products.  However,  they  should  be  able  to  add   shipping  options  as  well,  such  as  discounts  when  items  are  bundled  in  a  shopping  cart  or  higher  prices   for  shipping  internationally,  by  using  an  element  of  special  code  in  the  user  system.   Example:  1.95     Customizable   Term:  itemCustomizable   Definition:  User-­‐selected  (yes/no);  is  the  seller  willing  to  customize  this  item?     Field  Type  &  Size:  boolean   Mandatory:  yes   Occurrences:  1   Default:  no   Comments:  Sellers  select  the  “customizable”  option  if  they  are  able  to  engrave,  monogram,  alter  colors   or  materials,  or  make  any  changes  at  the  buyer’s  request.   Example:  No     Sold  Status   Term:  soldStatus   Definition:  System-­‐set  (yes/no);  has  the  item  sold  as  of  current  date  and  time?   Field  Type  &  Size:  boolean   Mandatory:  yes   Occurrences:  1   Default:  no   Comments:  This  value  is  changed  by  the  system  after  a  buyer  purchases  the  item.   Example:  Yes  (http://www.etsy.com/listing/55942255/tentacle-­‐keychain-­‐or-­‐ pendant?ref=cat2_gallery_7)     Date  Sold   Term:  dateSold   Definition:  System-­‐set;  date  and  time  that  the  item  was  purchased.   Field  Type  &  Size:  dateTime   Mandatory:  no  

Improving  Metadata  and  Facets  for  Items  on  Etsy.com  27     Occurrences:  1   Default:  (null)   Comments:  Once  the  item  is  sold,  the  system  updates  this  value  within  the  listing.   Example:  2010-­‐05-­‐05TO15:15:00:00  (http://www.etsy.com/listing/55942255/tentacle-­‐keychain-­‐or-­‐ pendant?ref=cat2_gallery_7)     Buyer   Term:  buyerID   Definition:  System-­‐set;  this  value  is  updated  once  a  buyer  has  purchased  the  item.   Field  Type  &  Size:  integer   Mandatory:  no   Occurrences:  1   Default:  (null)   Comments:  This  connects  an  item  to  a  user,  who  may  want  to  view  past  purchases  from  the  collection.   Example:  30489485858583      

Improving  Metadata  and  Facets  for  Items  on  Etsy.com  28    

Description  of  the  System  and  Implementation  
In  pitching  our  project  to  Etsy.com,  we  would  urge  their  developers  to  present  these  changes   gradually.  Initially  the  revised  system  should  be  a  limited  release,  as  a  way  of  testing  out  the  new   metadata  and  schemas.  A  small  population  of  sellers  would  be  selected  for  new  accounts  that  would   allow  them  to  post  with  the  new  metadata.  Then  we  would  need  to  develop  a  method  of  integrating  the   search  results  from  the  existing  and  the  experimental  system.  This  translation  and  integration  function   must  be  built  if  the  solution  is  to  be  adopted,  because  we  would  want  to  access  existing  records   (without  the  new  metadata  fields)  and  keep  those  items  in  the  current  retrieval  pool.  At  the  same  time   we  would  unveil  an  “experiment  with  Etsy”  section  that  tests  various  new  interfaces  powered  by  the   new  facets  and  metadata.  An  analysis  of  the  ensuing  click  rates,  product  sales,  and  satisfaction  surveys   would  then  inform  Etsy’s  decision  whether  or  not  to  implement  the  new  system.  

  Metadata  Creation    
Users  who  list  their  items  for  sale  on  the  site  will  be  directed  by  the  interface  to  provide  values   for  each  item  via  the  following  metadata  slots:  branch  (vintage/handmade/supplies),  color,  materials,   customizability,  seller  name,  and  seller  location.  Meanwhile,  the  system  will  create  a  set  of  metadata   pertaining  to  that  seller.  It  will  assign  each  seller  an  identification  number,  tally  their  sales,  track  their   listing  dates  (for  purposes  of  assessing  relisting  fees),  record  the  fees  as  they  are  assessed  and  the   payments  as  they  are  made,  and  calculate  an  account  balance.      

Workflow  
As  stated  above,  sellers  will  be  responsible  for  adding  metadata  pertaining  to  each  piece  of   merchandise,  and  will  be  tagged  by  the  system  with  metadata  that’s  useful  for  Etsy’s  business.  Also,  as   each  individual  item  is  listed,  the  system  will  automatically  tag  that  listing  with  metadata  (item  ID,  

Improving  Metadata  and  Facets  for  Items  on  Etsy.com  29     sold/not  sold,  date  and  time  of  listing).  In  addition,  the  seller’s  profile  will  contain  information  such  as   the  seller’s  location,  preferred  method  of  payment,  standard  shipping  and  handling  charges,  etc.,  so  that   those  can  be  auto-­‐filled  for  each  item  by  the  Etsy  database.  After  the  item  is  posted,  the  database  will   monitor  changes  in  the  seller’s  rating  and  the  item  status  in  order  to  maintain  the  accuracy  of  the   metadata.  For  example,  if  the  item  goes  on  sale  or  is  sold,  then  the  price  or  sold  status  metadata  field   needs  to  be  updated.  However,  once  the  item  is  posted,  the  seller  can  only  change  the  keywords,  price,   and  description.  Otherwise,  it  may  be  extremely  hard  for  buyers  to  re-­‐find  items.    

Quality  Control  for  Metadata    
Although  untrained  catalogers  (sellers)  will  be  the  people  inputting  most  metadata,  they  can  be   guided  toward  DCMI-­‐standard  formatting  by  the  use  of  drop-­‐down  menus,  thesauri  or  auto-­‐complete.  ,   Properly  formatted  examples  will  also  be  shown  next  to  each  free-­‐input  field  on  the  listing  form  so  that   sellers  can  consult  them  as  models.     To  ensure  that  all  items’  metadata  is  accurate,  the  database  will  be  subject  to  frequent  audits.   Listed  items  are  randomly  selected  for  a  metadata  accuracy  check;  items  that  are  inaccurately  tagged   are  flagged  for  correction  and  the  sellers  notified.  Not  all  items  can  be  manually  checked  for  metadata   integrity,  of  course.  But  if  regular  spot  audits  reveal  a  seller  who  provides  inaccurate  metadata  in  an   ongoing  and  incorrigible  way,  this  seller  will  be  “blacklisted,”  and  his/her  other  item  listings  will  also   undergo  an  audit  to  determine  whether  the  seller  habitually  misrepresents  his  items.  For  legal  and   logistical  purposes,  Etsy  sellers  are  responsible  for  describing  all  items  accurately  and  truthfully;  that   they  have  done  so  is  assumed  until  otherwise  demonstrated.  Etsy  is  not  liable  for  misrepresentations  of   merchandise,  and  reserves  the  right  to  discontinue  dealings  with  any  user  at  any  time  for  any  reason.   For  purposes  of  ensuring  accurate,  repeatable  searches,  standardized  (thesaurus-­‐based)   metadata  fields  will  have  greater  weight  within  the  search  algorithm  than  free-­‐form  fields.      

Improving  Metadata  and  Facets  for  Items  on  Etsy.com  30    

Examples  of  High-­‐Quality  Metadata  Records  for  Sample  Items    
• •   http://etsy520.drupalgardenszm/content/wormababy-­‐sculpture   http://etsy520.drupalgardens.com/content/yoshi-­‐doll-­‐0#overlay-­‐context=  content/yoshi-­‐doll-­‐0  

Systems  and  Tools    
For  creating  metadata:     Initially,  as  we  set  up  our  modified  metadata  standard,  we  will  refer  to  DCMI’s  website  and   explore  whether  tools  such  as  DC-­‐dot  or  DC  Meta  Toolkit  could  be  useful.  We  would  determine  whether   we  could  use  any  already-­‐common  metadata  elements  (from  Etsy.com  or  another  e-­‐commerce  site   whose  metadata  is  available  to  the  public)  or  whether  we  would  need  to  start  from  scratch.  Metadata   conversion  and  crosswalk  tools  are  available,  allowing  us  to  use  some  if  not  all  pre-­‐existing  metadata.   Furthermore,  users  will  provide  values  for  new  metadata  fields,  as  will  automated  system  functions.   For  managing  content  and  metadata:     We  would  create  metadata  within  one  of  the  numerous  open-­‐source  content  management   systems  (CMS)  available,  such  as  Drupal,  CushyCMS,  or  sNews.  Our  chosen  CMS  must  allow  us  to  create   controlled  vocabularies  and  thesauri,  as  that  step  is  essential  in  solving  metadata  problems.  We  intend   to  improve  on  Etsy's  current  reuse,  retrieval,  and  tracking  mechanisms.  To  help  assure  consistency  in   metadata  terminology,  sellers  will  be  urged  to  consult  Google's  Keyword  Tool,  shown  below,  or  Yahoo’s   Keyword  Selector  Tool.  Both  provide  useful  information  about  commonly  searched  words  and  phrases   pertaining  to  any  given  item.  Consulting  these  online  resources  will  also  help  sellers  ensure  they  do  not   mistakenly  omit  relevant  terms.  

Improving  Metadata  and  Facets  for  Items  on  Etsy.com  31    

  For  content  management:     We  will  take  advantage  of  the  existing  server  and  database  configuration  to  include  new  content   for  these  changes.  Etsy.com  can  label  and  categorize  some  items  to  ensure  quality  of  the  metadata.   Over  time,  as  items  are  sold,  the  system  will  automatically  add  listings  set  up  with  the  new  schema  and   format.   To  provide  end-­‐user  access  to  the  collection:   We  will  build  off  of  the  existing  website,  which  has  dynamic  webpages  coded  in  PHP.  These   pages  access  the  database  and  then  present  the  results  to  the  user  in  the  form  of  HTML  webpages.   For  metadata  creation  automation:     Many  items  posted  by  sellers  may  be  similar  or  identical.  A  tool  could  be  created  that,  when  an   item  is  newly  posted,  would  apply  all  relevant  metadata  from  a  previous  posting  by  the  same  seller.  This   metadata  could  be  edited  as  necessary  and  applied  to  the  newly  posted  item,  greatly  simplifying  the   listing  process  for  the  seller.   When  not  copying  metadata,  the  item-­‐posting  interface  would  offer  some  tools  to  help  speed   up  metadata  creation  and  increase  data  integrity.  When  applying  tags  or  category  labels  (the  latter  are   simply  Etsy-­‐sanctioned  tags  that  have  greater  influence  on  search  results),  the  seller  is  offered  a  series   of  list  boxes  and  textboxes.  Each  pair  represents  one  tag.  When  a  tag/category  is  selected  in  the  list  box,  

Improving  Metadata  and  Facets  for  Items  on  Etsy.com  32     the  text  box  is  automatically  filled  with  that  value.  There  can  be  as  many  pairs  of  boxes  as  there  can  be   tags  on  a  single  item.  The  governing  assumption  is  that  most  users  will  click  a  tag  name  rather  than  type   out  the  word,  especially  when  applying  multiple  tags.  This  dynamic  promotes  the  use  of  Etsy’s  preferred   terms  and  reduces  typos  and  other  errors,  while  also  incorporating  tags  with  user-­‐preferred  terms.     Some  metadata  is  automatically  inherited  from  the  seller,  such  as  location.  This  can  be  useful  if   buyers  wish  to  buy  from  certain  regions  (e.g.  “buying  local”).    

  Timeline  and  Cost  for  Content  Management  Redesign    
Setting  up  the  needed  systems:     Since  we  will  need  a  new  metadata  management  system  and  a  redesign/rework  of  the  current   middle-­‐tier  application,  our  team  estimates  that  implementation  will  take  approximately  10  months  and   $250,000.  This  includes  time  to  implement  the  new  project  in  parallel  to  the  current  site,  time  for   testing,  and  final  implementation  for  the  entire  site.     First,  we  will  need  to  develop  a  way  for  the  test  sellers  to  post  items  using  the  new  metadata   fields  and  to  integrate  their  new  listings  with  existing  items.  The  creation  and  management  of  the   metadata  by  an  information  architect/information  specialist  will  take  around  three  months.  Also,  the   PHP  middle-­‐tier  application  will  need  to  be  reworked,  including  redesigning  the  posting  forms  for  sellers   and  the  searching/browsing  function  for  buyers.  This  reworking  will  require  two  or  three  web   developers  to  complete,  in  a  time  frame  of  roughly  six  months.  The  implementation  time  would  be   longer  if  we  were  recreating  the  entire  site,  but  we  suggest  modifying  the  existing  pages  in  such  a  way   that  we  would  not  need  to  concern  ourselves  with  visual  style  or  other  content  currently  on  the  site.   Since  some  of  the  PHP  work  can  be  done  in  parallel  with  the  metadata  creation,  we  estimate  that  the   total  time  to  implement  the  pilot  will  be  six  months  with  slack  time.  The  developers  should  be  paid,  on   average,  $90K;  the  information  architect  would  be  paid  $85K  annually.  The  total  cost  is  therefore  

Improving  Metadata  and  Facets  for  Items  on  Etsy.com  33     approximately  $156,000.   Next  we  need  to  test  and  analyze  the  pilot  changes  for  two  months.  The  only  costs  in  this  phase   are  for  labor:  analyzing  data  and  fixing  bugs.  We  project  roughly  $40,000  for  this  part  of  the  project.   Lastly,  if  the  pilot  is  a  success,  the  programmers  will  have  to  integrate  these  changes  into  the   entire  site  and  manage  the  switch  after  all  existing  posts  expire  (within  four  months).  Since  the  majority   of  work  will  have  already  been  completed,  two  programmers  should  be  able  to  finalize  the  project  in   one  month;  this  stage  costs  another  $30,000.     In  summary,  the  project  would  require  a  total  of  $226,000  and  nine  months  to  complete  if   implemented  throughout  the  site.  To  account  for  unexpected  overages  and  contingencies,  we   recommend  a  total  budget  of  $250K  (allowing  for  some  slack)  and  a  ten-­‐month  time  frame.  Note     that  this  assumes  we  will  use  existing  hardware  and  that  we  do  not  need  to  make  any  non-­‐   personnel  purchases.   Cataloging  the  items  in  your  collection:     The  best  solution  for  our  collection  of  millions  of  items  (including  sold  items)  would  be  to   require  any  new  postings  to  follow  our  improved  metadata  standards.  Since  each  posting  is  active  for   only  four  months,  we  would  have  the  entire  collection  migrated  over  four  months  after  the  new  website   is  implemented.  The  sellers  are  the  catalogers,  so  this  part  of  our  solution  is  free  —  except  for  any   coding  needed  to  integrate  the  dual  collections,  which  was  accounted  for  in  the  previous  section.   Testing  the  implementation  with  users:     During  the  programming  phase,  we  can  use  a  strategy  that  has  been  successful  for  Yahoo.com   and  other  online  giants.  The  strategy  takes  advantage  of  the  flexibility  of  web  applications  and  the   online  fingerprint  of  users.  Since  we  have  five  suggested  user  interfaces,  we  will  want  to  test  them  all,   determine  which  is  best  suited  to  our  users,  and  then  debug  the  chosen  UI.  To  speed  up  testing,  we  can   simultaneously  roll  out  different  interfaces  to  users  from  different  regions.  Overall,  however,  we  would   aim  to  keep  the  user  experience  as  familiar  as  possible,  so  as  not  to  confuse  users  with  random  

Improving  Metadata  and  Facets  for  Items  on  Etsy.com  34     interfaces  they  might  not  have  time  to  learn  (which  would  add  a  confounding  element  to  our  user  test   results).  To  determine  the  most  effective  interface,  we  can  analyze  purchase  rates,  click  patterns,  and   other  buyer  data.  The  testing  process  should  last  at  least  one  month,  but  we  would  budget  for  two.  A   budget  of  $25,000  would  cover  programming  costs  as  well  as  the  cost  of  creating  reports  and  analyzing   the  data.        

Improving  Metadata  and  Facets  for  Items  on  Etsy.com  35    

References  
Coyle,  K.  (2010).  Metadata  models  of  the  World  Wide  Web.  Library  Technology  Reports,  46(2),  12-­‐36.   Retrieved  from   https://auth.lib.unc.edu.libproxy.lib.unc.edu/ezproxy_auth.php?url=http://search.ebscohost.co m.libproxy.lib.unc.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=48651558&site=ehost-­‐ live&scope=site   Delgado,  J.  &  Peig,  E.  (2001).  Metadata  interoperability  for  e-­‐commerce  of  multimedia  publishing   material.  Digital  Publishing  Odyssey.   JISC  Digital  Media.  (2010).  Putting  things  in  order:  A  directory  of  Metadata  schemas  and  related   standards.  Managing  Your  Digital  Resources.  Retrieved  11/01/2010  from   http://www.jiscdigitalmedia.ac.uk/crossmedia/advice/putting-­‐things-­‐in-­‐order-­‐links-­‐to-­‐ metadata-­‐schemas-­‐and-­‐related-­‐standards/   Takac,  M.  (2009).  Etsy’s  handmade  goods  inspire  the  shopper  in  all  of  us.  Invention  and  Technology   News.  Retrieved  10/02/2010  from   http://news.inventhelp.com/Articles/Internet/Inventions/etsy-­‐shop-­‐12587.aspx.   ‘winenutnyc’  (2008).  Etsy  statistics:  Hot  in  February?!?!?  Etsy  News.  Retrieved  10/03/2010  from   http://www.etsy.com/storque/etsy-­‐news/etsy-­‐statistics-­‐hot-­‐in-­‐february-­‐1361/.   Zeldman,  J.  (2001).  Taking  your  talent  to  the  web:  Making  the  transition  from  graphic  design  to  web   design.  New  Riders,  p.  228.      

Improving  Metadata  and  Facets  for  Items  on  Etsy.com  36    

Appendix  A  –  Draft  of  Faceted  Structure  

  Supplies    //  Handmade    //  Vintage  //  Wish  List     Facets  for  Selection   8-­‐Facet  Pkg   Supplies     8-­‐Facet  Package   By  Color  <  multi-­‐valued,  flat  >   By  Category  <  multi-­‐valued,  tree  >   By  Materials  <  multi-­‐valued,  some  values  hierarchical  >   By  Price  Range  <  single-­‐valued,  hierarchical  >   By  Seller  <  single-­‐valued,  flat  >   By  Location  <single-­‐valued,  hierarchy  >   Custom  <  flat,  y/n  >   Recently  Sold  <  flat,  y/n  >      

Improving  Metadata  and  Facets  for  Items  on  Etsy.com  37    

Appendix  B  –  External  Links  
1. Problem  Statement  -­‐  NONE   2. Content  Sample  -­‐   https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0AsbWcFiZHMS4dENnNTJTNGlEOG9taTV1LXJHOWgt Tmc&hl=en&authkey=CO2FuYoG     3. Facets   a. Facets  and  user  groups  -­‐   https://spreadsheets0.google.com/ccc?key=tTPJFCmqddKDg9cr2FQqw0g&hl=en&authk ey=CL2NguAO#gid=0   b. Content  sample  with  facets  -­‐   https://spreadsheets1.google.com/ccc?key=toiyKgHlH5FwFeuTjvzK3Eg&authkey=CO7el qcH&hl=en&authkey=CO7elqcH#gid=0     4. User  Interface   a. Related  Web  Nav  -­‐   https://docs.google.com/leaf?id=0B6Ww918T9vepMjQ4M2QxM2QtNDJmNy00M2EwLT kzMGItZGUxOTkxYzE0Njgz&hl=en   b. Relational  Browser  -­‐   https://docs.google.com/leaf?id=0B8bWcFiZHMS4ZjhkZWQ2OWQtM2E0NS00ZGFjLThh MjAtY2UxODg5YmJmYzBh&hl=en   c. Relational  Browser,  view  2  -­‐   https://docs.google.com/leaf?id=0B8bWcFiZHMS4YzFiZmI4ZjMtMTEwZC00YzRhLTg5Y2 UtY2MyNzk2MjJkNTY1&hl=en   d. Flamenco-­‐Style  Browsing  -­‐  https://docs.google.com/leaf?id=0BwzfqwoJE64-­‐ ZGI1ZTY0Y2YtNTBkZC00YjVkLWI3ZmUtMGE0ZGIwZDhiMzhk&hl=en   e. Faceted  Breadcrumbs  -­‐  https://docs.google.com/document/d/1_-­‐ l3aZtxeCGRiZYMZSMu90y-­‐b208ZVr0d_1JJkmtRp8/edit?hl=en#     5. Metadata  specs     a. Taxonomy:   https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1RJwrHmtuxNzWfHfLskTIzxead8shIb-­‐ nHSj4qo2r4gI   b. XML  schema  example:   https://docs.google.com/document/d/1zbY_RVmt8hj88OBry4rjstMGpg-­‐ Vr8TWGKFuoqxdLDw/edit?hl=en&authkey=CIrBjcUH#   c. XML  listing:   https://docs.google.com/document/d/1wsYIkaoU5hXD5vO2eJuW31eigNyppQjMGDQbV j8WM54/edit?hl=en&authkey=CIaquNII#            

Improving  Metadata  and  Facets  for  Items  on  Etsy.com  38     6. System  and  implementation   a. Drupal  listings  of  Quality  metadata:   i. http://etsy520.drupalgardenszm/content/wormababy-­‐sculpture   ii. http://etsy520.drupalgardens.com/content/yoshi-­‐doll-­‐0#overlay-­‐context=   content/yoshi-­‐doll-­‐0    

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