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A usability study of the Belgian‐American Research Collection: measuring the functionality of a digital library

Jason A. Clark (Web Services Librarian, Williams College Libraries, Williamstown, Massachusetts, USA)

OCLC Systems & Services: International digital library perspectives

ISSN: 1065-075X

Article publication date: 1 September 2004

Abstract

This study presents findings with a particular digital library system, the Belgian‐American Research Collection at the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections Center (UWDCC). It focuses on the ways in which a usability study can inform the future design of the collection and other UWDCC projects. The study uses two formal testing instruments: a focus group and a task‐oriented field test. Both of these techniques yielded solid data about user expectations, problems and actions with the collection. While the findings can aid UWDCC designers as they begin to envision another iteration of the Belgian‐American Research Collection, the findings also point to a need for a shift in the development of more complete digital library systems. This study proposes the development of digital library systems that have a strong orientation toward users and usability as well as advanced search interfaces and full metadata. In the end, it is not just about cataloging and organizing information; it is also about presenting information logically and intuitively for your users.

Keywords

Citation

Clark, J.A. (2004), "A usability study of the Belgian‐American Research Collection: measuring the functionality of a digital library", OCLC Systems & Services: International digital library perspectives, Vol. 20 No. 3, pp. 115-127. https://doi.org/10.1108/10650750410551451

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited