Improving browsability of archive catalogues using Web 2.0

Emily Gresham (Department of Information Studies, Aberystwyth University, Aberystwyth, UK)
Sarah Higgins (Department of Information Studies, Aberystwyth University, Aberystwyth, UK)

Library Review

ISSN: 0024-2535

Publication date: 18 May 2012



The purpose of this paper is to examine the effects Web 2.0 has on users' ability to browse online archive catalogues effectively.


Methods used included a review of the relevant scholarly literature, content analysis and semi‐structured interviews with purposive samples of online catalogues and archive staff, respectively.


The Web 2.0 technologies likely to improve browsability were identified. Web 2.0 use was expected to be low, the results confirmed this. Results from the interviews showed that although Web 2.0 may improve browsability for certain user groups, more fundamental improvements such as improved catalogue data were expected to be more effective. Interviewees did not see any clear benefits to Web 2.0 implementation and had struggled to collect data on usage of some of the Web 2.0 tools they used.

Research limitations/implications

The results provided confirmation of many points made in existing research. Data need to be collected from users if Web 2.0 use and its effects on browsability are to be understood. At present the effects of Web 2.0 on the browsability of online catalogues remains unclear.


This paper provides a starting point for further investigation into the effect of Web 2.0 on the browsability of online catalogues. Web 2.0 tools which could potentially improve browsability have been identified and a snapshot has been taken of their use across the sample catalogues.



Gresham, E. and Higgins, S. (2012), "Improving browsability of archive catalogues using Web 2.0", Library Review, Vol. 61 No. 5, pp. 309-326.

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Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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