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Measuring the usability of academic digital libraries: Instrument development and validation

Soohyung Joo (School of Information Studies, University of Wisconsin‐Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA)
, and
Jee Yeon Lee (Yonsei University, Seoul, South Korea)

The Electronic Library

ISSN: 0264-0473

Article publication date: 9 August 2011




This study aims to develop a measurement instrument, which involves four usability dimensions of efficiency, effectiveness, satisfaction, and learnability, as a way of assessing the usability of academic digital libraries.


To generate measurement items, previous research related to usability frameworks, usability guidelines, and empirical usability tests was reviewed. The measurement instrument was then verified in terms of reliability and validity, empirically using data from 230 actual users of an academic digital library. To ensure the reliability of the instrument, internal consistency of measurements, measurement item reliability, and construct reliability were examined. Construct validity, which consists of convergent validity and discriminant validity, was also examined on the basis of confirmatory factor analysis using structural equation modeling.


The usability evaluation instrument suggested in this study comprises four dimensions: efficiency, effectiveness, satisfaction, and learnability, and three to four items were identified to measure each dimension.


To date, while many of the usability studies have relied on either experimental methods or inspection methods, few studies have been conducted to identify evaluation measures that can assess the usability of a digital library from a survey method. This study is one of a few studies to develop a measurement instrument tailored to academic digital library environments.



Joo, S. and Yeon Lee, J. (2011), "Measuring the usability of academic digital libraries: Instrument development and validation", The Electronic Library, Vol. 29 No. 4, pp. 523-537.



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