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Synthesizing visual digital library research to formulate a user-centered evaluation framework

Dan Albertson (School of Library and Information Studies, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA)

New Library World

ISSN: 0307-4803

Article publication date: 9 March 2015



The purpose of this study is to synthesize prior user-centered research to develop and present a generalized framework for evaluating visual, i.e. both image and video digital libraries. The primary objectives include comprehensively examining the current state of visual digital library research to: develop a generalized framework applicable for designing user-centered evaluations of visual digital libraries; identify influential experimental factors warranting assessment evaluation as part of specific contexts; and provide examples of applied methods that have been used in research, demonstrating notable findings.


The framework presented in the present study depicts a set of user-centered methodological considerations and examples, synthesized from a review of prior research that provides significant understanding of users and uses of visual information.


Primary components for digital library evaluation, pertaining to user, interaction, system and domain and topic, and their implications for interactive research are presented. Methods, examples and discussion are presented for each primary evaluation component of the framework.

Practical implications

Previously applied evaluations and their significance are described and presented as part of the developed framework, providing the importance of each component for practical application in future research and development of interactive visual digital libraries.


Visual digital libraries warrant individual assessment, apart from other types of digital collections, as they offer users more ways to retrieve and interact with collection items. The present study complements prior digital library evaluation research by demonstrating the need for a separate framework due to variations influenced by visual information and reporting on evaluations from different perspectives.



Albertson, D. (2015), "Synthesizing visual digital library research to formulate a user-centered evaluation framework", New Library World, Vol. 116 No. 3/4, pp. 122-135.



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