I am considering adding pages to encourage users to navigate around a site, that will largely duplicate existing content (snippets already on other pages, etc.).
I think they should not be indexed because they are duplicate content.
I could disallow them in robots.txt, but I can see some possible advantages for the meta tag:
1) as far as I know, adding a noindex meta tag without nofollow will allow page rank to circulate through that page.
2) These pages will link to pages that have something in common, so it does contain useful information on the theses and topics a page covers, and how pages are related
3) It contains good link text.
Search engines must download and parse a page with a noindex tag, and I think they follow links unless there is a nofollow tag as well. Do they also use the other information on the page, and just exclude it from the SERPS, or do they forget it completely? Will any of the above work on a page with a noindex tag? Is a noindex tag sufficient to avoid duplicate content issues.