Metadata – How to choose Keywords

by cmacmillan on May 1, 2015

In this series of blog posts we will be talking about how to make your article more discoverable by giving it rich, descriptive metadata. If you missed it, read our first post about what metadata is and how search engines use it, our post on how to write a great title, and our last post on how to write a great abstract.

The final piece of metadata we are going to discuss is keywords. Similarly to titles, it is important that keywords are not vague and that they instead use direct, descriptive terms that accurately reflect the article you have written.

Keywords do not have to be the words that appear the most times in your article, but should instead offer a reader at a glance an idea of the subject area and field of study. Keywords do not need to be only one word, which is an important point to remember. They can be two-to-four word phrases that make sense in the context of describing your article.

As is the case with other pieces of metadata, keywords are crawled and used to index your article by search engines. Having keywords that are strong indicators of the content of your article will boost your article in ranking and search results.

Some tips for writing keywords:

  • Don’t feel restricted to pick one-word keywords. They can be two-to-four word phrases.
  • Avoid broad keywords, or anything too general (e.g., “education”; “medicine”; “history”).
  • Avoid words that are too narrow or specific that are unlikely to be used by readers in searches.
  • Keywords are not restricted to the keyword section – they can (and should) be repeated in the title and abstract.

A good way to start thinking about what the keywords should be for your article is to ask yourself what you would type into a search bar to find the article you have written.

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Metadata – Why bother writing an abstract?

by cmacmillan on May 1, 2015

In this series of blog posts we will be talking about how to make your article more discoverable by giving it rich, descriptive metadata. If you missed it, read our first post about what metadata is and how search engines use it and our post on how to write a great title.

Abstracts – are they really important? Do you really need to write one? How much of a difference can having an abstract really make? The answer is pretty clear – any article that is going to appear online 100%, absolutely, must have a well written abstract to accompany it.

The reason for this is simple. As explained in our first post on how search engines work, the abstract for your article is going to be searched, the keywords it contains indexed, and this information will contribute to how your article is ranked by search engines. If you write a detailed, descriptive abstract, your article will be ranked higher than an identical article with no abstract. It is that simple. If you want people to find your article, an abstract is crucial.

Getting people to find it is just the first step. You also want your article to be read and cited. A well written abstract is the best tool to achieve this. By telling readers exactly what your article contains, they can quickly and easily determine if the content in your article is pertinent to their research.

So now that you’re convinced, what does a great abstract look like? Not all abstracts will look the same – they vary from discipline to discipline. An abstract in a scientific journal will look different than one in a literary journal. Regardless of your field of study, your abstract should consider the following information:

  1. What – what is the article about? What type of research is being discussed? What makes this article different than others on the same topic?
  2. How – if you are a life scientist or social scientist your abstract should describe how you conducted your research. If you are a humanities scholar, your abstract should tell your readers what theoretical approaches, if any, you are using.
  3. Where – Was there a particular geographic location, or region associated with the research?
  4. When – Was there a particular time period examined?
  5. Why – what makes this research new/interesting/important?
  6. So What – what were the conclusions, findings or implications?

Here are Antonia’s Dos and Don’ts for writing an abstract


  • Write one
  • Use key words / terms / phrases
  • Define all acronyms, even common ones
  • Work within the set word
  • Obtain feedback from other subject specialists.


  • Don’t just use the first paragraph of the article, or a collection of sentences
  • Don’t use too much technical or specialized jargon
  • Don’t include any information that is not also in the full article
  • Don’t include references – you want people to read your article, not go off and find one referenced in your abstract.



  • Every article that will be published online absolutely needs an abstract.
  • A good abstract will increase the ranking and discoverability for search engines, and help readers decide which articles to read.
  • Abstracts should contain keywords and terms.

Next – key words!

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Metadata – Importance of the Title

by cmacmillan on May 1, 2015

In this series of blog posts we will be talking about how to make your article more discoverable by giving it rich, descriptive metadata. If you missed it, read our first post about what metadata is and how search engines use it.

The first piece of metadata that we are going to talk about it the TITLE and what makes a good title.

A good title should be descriptive – it should tell the reader exactly what the article is about. It should not use jargon, puns, or sarcasm. While humans may understand these figures of speech, the web crawlers that are reading the title, and ranking the article based on the words it contains, are not going to understand them.

For example, if an article about rats in New York City is titled “A very furry problem” a human reader might guess the topic, but there are no key words in this title to tell an internet crawler what the article is about. The article would therefore rank lowly in any searches on the topic of rats in NYC.

Your title should state what the article is about as simply and accurately as possible. If you have a pun, play on words, or joke you would like to use, be sure that it is only one part of your title, and that the other part meets the above criteria.

When writing the title for your article ask yourself – what is this article about? What makes this article interesting? If I were doing a search online for this article, what words would I search for? Does the title alone immediately tell readers what the article is about? The answers to these questions can help you come up with an informative title that will help your readers find it and boost your article in the right search rankings.


  • Bad metadata will make even the very best article difficult to find, therefore affecting how many people read it and cite it.
  • A good title will boost your article in search rankings, making it easier to find for your readers and ultimately result in more readership and potentially citations.
  • A good title is descriptive and avoids jargon, puns, and sarcasm.

Next up – Abstracts!

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Written by guest blogger, Raymond Blake

11-193-02 New WebGoverning is a messy business in any state and none more so than in federal ones like Canada where authority is shared between two orders of government. Yet, federalism is not an end in itself but simply a means of dividing jurisdiction in the hopes of capturing the loyalty of various political communities to maintain stability within the nation while allowing all citizens and subnational units to flourish and prosper. Federal systems thrive and enjoy stability when they deliver on their promise of fairness and equity for all its members. Today, intergovernmental relations between the national and provincial states are reasonably harmonious but it was not always thus.

My Canadian Historical Review article explores a recent period when federal-provincial relations were so rancorous that it imperilled the unity and stability of Canada. In this particular instance the issue was control of the rich oil fields in the North Atlantic nearly 300 kilometres off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador. From the moment that exploration began there in the late 1950s and seismic testing revealed huge possibilities, Newfoundland claimed that it owned the resource. If it had not joined Confederation in 1949, Canada would not have had any claim to the offshore.

Such claims mattered little two decades later when energy security became a national obsession, at the same time that Quebec flirted with separation and Albertans proudly pasted “Let the Eastern Bastards Freeze in the Dark” bumper stickers on their vehicles. Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau – and Canadians, too, especially those in Ontario — feared the accelerating descent of the country towards a rapidly decentralized federation. If the trend continued, many feared, Canada would disappear. Trudeau believed that those decentralist forces had to be reversed and the economic powers of the federal state strengthened. Only a strong central government could create the conditions that allowed all citizens throughout the nation to prosper.

Few of the premiers agreed with such logic, and this article focuses on Brian Peckford, the premier of Newfoundland and Labrador who maintained that the Canada’s federal system with a succession of strong governments in Ottawa had failed to improve his province’s social and economic well-being after it joined Canada. Nor had centralized power in Ottawa fostered the economic growth and prosperity of any of the four Atlantic provinces. Peckford argued that a strong national community and national stability were only possible if Canadian federalism provided a fair measure of equality for all provinces. To him, decentralization was the solution, not the problem: only a provincial government with control over its own resources could foster a sustainable economic and vibrant social community in Newfoundland and Labrador and bridge the fiscal and financial gap that existed between his province and the rest of Canada.

The two politicians did not particularly like each other but their quarrel was not personal: it was a battle of ideas. Was Canada to be a decentralized or a centralized federal state and which form would best create fairness, equality and social justice for all citizens. From the late 1970s to the early 1980s, Peckford and Trudeau fought like scorpions trapped in a bottle. Not surprisingly, their quarrel imperilled the working of intergovernmental relations between Newfoundland and Ottawa; it was a low, dishonest period in the annals of Canadian federalism.

The internecine strife introduced in the CHR article is merely one in a long series of intergovernmental controversies that are explored in their fullness in Lions and Jellyfish. Newfoundland-Ottawa Relations since 1957 which will be published this summer by the University of Toronto Press.

Raymond Blake’s “Politics and the Federal Principle in Canada: Newfoundland Offshore Oil Development and the Quest for Political Stability and Economic Justice” can be found in the latest issue of the Canadian Historical Review. Click Here to Read.

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Written by guest blogger, Lisa Pasolli

JDuring the Second World War, thirty-four day care centres in Ontario and Quebec were established under the Dominion-Provincial Wartime Day Nurseries Agreement (WDNA). This shared federal-provincial funding of child care services was unprecedented in Canada, and federal officials insisted throughout the war that the agreement was no more than a temporary measure to mobilize a much-needed labour force. Accordingly, the agreement was cancelled at the end of the war and federal funding was withdrawn. In a stable postwar society, the thinking went, mothers should stay home to look after their young children.

The reality for many mothers, however, was that their wartime work was not simply a patriotic service, but an economic necessity. One 1945 survey revealed that almost ninety percent of mothers who used Toronto’s wartime day nurseries intended to continue working “indefinitely” after the war for financial reasons. The closure of the nurseries meant that many of them would be left without safe and accessible child care options. One mother, in a letter to minister of labour Humphrey Mitchell urging him to keep the nurseries open, underlined the continued importance of public child care to working-class families like hers. “I ask you, Mr. Mitchell,” she implored, “is the emergency over?”

As this mother’s plea reminds us, the story of wartime child care goes beyond the mobilization/demobilization narrative of the WDNA. The wartime child care dilemmas of many Canadian mothers were not simply a consequence of patriotic war service, but of their ongoing struggles to work for their families’ survival. Though these mothers may not have been the targets of the government day nurseries, the introduction of the WDNA and the debates about its potential implementation had ramifications for the ways in which the child care needs of all mothers were understood. Throughout the war, social workers, women’s groups, and many others put forward alternatives to the federal government’s limited vision of publicly-funded child care, and advocated for a comprehensive system of public day nurseries as a fixer of social ills, as an anti-poverty strategy, as an educational innovation, and even as the right of all working women.

There has been lots of scholarly attention paid to the administrative details of the Wartime Day Nurseries Agreement – and rightfully so, since it still represents the only instance of direct federal support for child care in Canada. However, it is also important to consider this wider context of wartime child care, and all the historical actors that were engaged in debates about the meanings and purposes of publicly-funded child care. A closer examination of those debates shows that federal, provincial, and local officials were enmeshed in a complex web of child care politics that had long been playing out in communities around the country, and that would continue to play out long after the war ended. In other words, the WDNA was a catalyst that brought to light intersecting and often-competing objectives around welfare, education, labour force, and gender policy. Echoes of those competing visions continue to resonate in contemporary debates about a publicly-funded child care strategy in Canada.

Lisa Pasolli’s  “I ask you, Mr. Mitchell, is the emergency over?”: Debating Day Nurseries in the Second World War can be found in the latest issue of the Canadian Historical Review. Click Here to Read.

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Lexicons of Early Modern English now includes over 713,000 word-entries!

March 13, 2015

Lexicons of Early Modern English now includes over 713,000 word-entries! Lexicons of Early Modern English is a growing historical database offering scholars unprecedented access to early books and manuscripts documenting the growth and development of the English language. With the recent additions of the immense Latin-English text, Ortus Vocabulorum, White Kennett’s very detailed etymological work, […]

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First issue of the Journal of Military, Veteran and Family Health is now online and open access!

March 9, 2015

The Canadian Institute for Military & Veteran Health Research and the University of Toronto Press are pleased to announce the first issue of the Journal of Military, Veteran and Family Health (JMVFH) is now online. The Journal of Military, Veteran and Family Health (JMVFH), edited by Alice Aiken and Stéphanie Bélanger, and managed by Mike […]

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Call for Editor – JSP

February 23, 2015

Journal of Scholarly Publishing The Journal of Scholarly Publishing (JSP) is currently seeking to fill the position of Editor. The Journal of Scholarly Publishing (JSP) was launched in October 1969 by staff at University of Toronto Press to explore scholarly publishing in the world of the university press. In the inaugural editorial, Marsh Jeanneret, […]

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What is Metadata?

January 27, 2015

Welcome to the first of a series of blog posts on metadata and why it is important. The information in these posts is great for authors and editors alike, so please read, share, and send us your thoughts. These posts are derived from a presentation done by UTP’s Production Manager, Antonia Pop. Antonia spoke on […]

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Launch of a new journal —Journal of Military, Veteran and Family Health

January 21, 2015

The Canadian Institute for Military & Veteran Health Research and the University of Toronto Press is pleased to announce the launch of the Journal of Military, Veteran and Family Health (JMVFH). The aim of this new open-access journal is to maximize the health and social well being of military personnel, Veterans, and their families by […]

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