IUPUI image collection: a usability survey

Elsa F. Kramer (Indiana University School of Library and Information Science, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA)

OCLC Systems & Services: International digital library perspectives

ISSN: 1065-075X

Publication date: 1 December 2005



To measure functionality, content, and awareness of an online digital image collection by observing participants in a controlled search for a specific image and evaluating their responses to questions with the objective of improving the site.


Participants were recruited from among faculty, staff, and students based on interests stated in online profiles or indicated by type of professional work or academic major. Participants were timed while searching for a target photo and interviewed afterward about their search experience and their use of digital images.


Most potential users are not aware of the Indiana University‐Purdue University Indianapolis image collection and have some difficulty locating it, but when introduced to it find the site attractive and navigable and its content interesting and useful for research, instruction, publication, or class work.

Research limitations/implications

There were only 5,100 images uploaded to the collection at the time of the study. The participant group was limited to 70.

Practical implications

User data and suggestions help the archives staff work with CONTENTdm™ to make improvements to the site's function and metadata; choose photos to scan for the collection; and develop site‐marketing plans.


This study provides quantitative measurements of user habits and concerns. Observation, sometimes rejected as an obtrusive methodology, is shown here as an important tool to evaluate human‐computer interaction for improved understanding of user perspectives on navigability and functionality.



Kramer, E. (2005), "IUPUI image collection: a usability survey", OCLC Systems & Services: International digital library perspectives, Vol. 21 No. 4, pp. 346-359. https://doi.org/10.1108/10650750510631712

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Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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