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Article

Paulo Alonso Gaona-Garcia, Salvador Sanchez-Alonso and Ana Fermoso García

The purpose of this paper is to assess whether Europeana can be really seen as the new “Library of Alexandria” for digital resources from the perspective of teachers…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to assess whether Europeana can be really seen as the new “Library of Alexandria” for digital resources from the perspective of teachers, academics and researchers that might want to retrieve and reuse those resources for learning purposes.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors define a systematic method for studying Europeana digital resources and their potential for reuse in e-learning environments. To achieve this, the authors explore the coverage of digital resources when searching information about a specific area. The paper studies the relevance of the results (thematic coverage) provided by queries targeting the resources’ metadata elements defined by the EDM Europeana model. All the data collected for this study from Europeana digital resources are the result of four explorations since 2012-2016.

Findings

The autors found that Europeana as a digital library has good levels of coverage of digital resources for those terms in the AAT thesaurus explored (terms from the “Styles and Periods” subset). This subset was selected as an example of faceted search given that it is a common search topic in the academic environment. However, it is important to remark the use of common vocabulary words provided by participants in order to obtain relevant results of search based on specific knowledge areas defined by AAT terms.

Research limitations/implications

This research used a relatively small sample size of resources which may not be representative of the general size of Europeana digital resources. However, the results are illustrative as they are based on a specific knowledge area of AAT (118 terms) which contains very common topics used in high school courses by students and teachers in the field of art and cultural heritage. The study also aspires to provide a systematic method for conducting future studies in other knowledge areas.

Originality/value

The coverage study aims to analyze if Europeana is a digital library that teachers could use for the development of learning objects in specific knowledge areas, through the reuse of free/open access digital resources.

Details

Online Information Review, vol. 41 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1468-4527

Keywords

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Article

Paulo Alonso Gaona García, David Martín-Moncunill, Salvador Sánchez-Alonso and Ana Fermoso García

This paper aims to analyse user interfaces for search and collection visualisation and navigation from a usability perspective. The final aim is to offer repository owners…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to analyse user interfaces for search and collection visualisation and navigation from a usability perspective. The final aim is to offer repository owners a scientific basis to support their decisions when they have to choose an interface that can really help users to effectively locate and visualise resources over large digital collections.

Design/methodology/approach

This HCI study is divided into two parts: perception and usability. The first one analysed three perceptual abilities required to use interfaces: attention, retention of information and understanding. The second one was run on an ad hoc generated collection including more than 40,000 European digital resources collected and classified according to a given branch of knowledge in the Art & Architecture Thesaurus.

Findings

Although visual interfaces proved useful for certain tasks related to resource discovery and search, and despite the overall good general user opinion, the authors found it necessary to conduct another thorough study to know more about the target users and the amplitude of the collection, as well as to determine the ideal type of interface to implement. All these factors are important for increasing user acceptance and avoiding unnecessary implementation costs.

Research limitations/implications

This research was run on a relatively small sample size of users from Spain and Latin America, which may not be representative of the general population. In similar studies previous knowledge about usability has been reported to introduce bias in the results, so the authors tried to avoid this when selecting the participants.

Originality/value

There are no previous usability studies for the development and implementation of interfaces in digital learning or cultural repositories. The authors' experience highlights the importance of addressing usability aspects a priori, to prevent users from ceasing to use visual interfaces over time, because they do not perceive any benefit from using them.

Details

Online Information Review, vol. 38 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1468-4527

Keywords

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