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If You Build it Will They Come? The LAIRAH Study: Quantifying the Use of Online Resources in the Arts and Humanities through Statistical Analysis of User.

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Presentation on theme: "If You Build it Will They Come? The LAIRAH Study: Quantifying the Use of Online Resources in the Arts and Humanities through Statistical Analysis of User."— Presentation transcript:

1 If You Build it Will They Come? The LAIRAH Study: Quantifying the Use of Online Resources in the Arts and Humanities through Statistical Analysis of User Log Data Claire Warwick, Melissa Terras, Paul Huntington and Nikoleta Pappa School of Library, Archive and Information Studies, University College London

2 Aims and Objectives Aim: to investigate the use of online digital resources in the humanities to determine whether they are sustainable and, how, and why they are used

3 Objectives: to determine: Actual use levels of different projects, using deep log analysis. Whether certain characteristics (disciplinary associations) or media (text, images) have an impact on use. The impact of institutional features such as departmental experts, internal culture, funding and management. The effect of user consultation about design on eventual resource usage. Whether neglected digital resources can be reused effectively if potential users are (re)introduced to them.

4 Funding and background Funded by UK Arts and Humanities Research Council ICT Strategy scheme Will inform the AHRC ICT Strategy review Immediate impact on provision and funding of digital resources in the humanities in the UK 15 month project- reports end September 2006

5 Methods: Quantitative Analysis of web server data for AHDS, Artifact and Humbul –To determine which resources users link to –Comparison to questionnaire mounted on these sites Survey of links to digital humanities materials from library and departmental pages

6 Log Analysis – the basics 66.XXX.XXX.XX - - [24/Feb/2005:00:07: ] "GET /deposit/depintro.htm HTTP/1.1" "http://ahds.ac.uk/copyrightfaq.htm" –(66.XXX.XXX.XX) is the IP (Internet protocol) address. (X indicates the presence of a number which has been removed for anonymisation purposes) – (24/Feb/2005:00:07: ) is a date stamp and records the date and time of the file sent in response to the client’s request – (GET /deposit/depintro.htm) records the file sent to the client and the directories where the file is stored on the server –(HTTP/1.1) is the record of the hypertext version communication between server and client –(200) is the status field and states if the request was correct and a file was sent –(318) records the size in bytes of the file sent –(http://ahds.ac.uk/copyrightfaq.htm) is the referrer log and states the address of the last site visited by the client

7 Methods: Qualitative Case study of 25 selected well-used projects in different disciplines Interviews with producers of resources Study of documentation if any Workshop with AHRC Methods network on neglected resources

8 Findings - Log analysis Logs surprisingly hard to access Relatively low levels of use –Many resources entirely neglected Importance of names and content –Witches and other educated persons Emphasis on creation not reuse Importance of services- journals, research centres Academic users more persistent searchers

9 Findings –Questionnaire Use of generic information resources dominates –Confirms log data findings Enthusiastic adoption of information resources Lack of concern with documentation and archiving Suggests split between resource creators and re- users

10 LAIRAH Workshop findings Very aware of quality issues Interface and content Want information about selection methods, sources etc (like footnotes) Easily discouraged, especially by access or interface problems –Quick to abandon and distrust resources Find it difficult to guess subject matter of resources

11 Vital Resources Willing to be persistent if a resource is vital –Does not excuse poor quality resources! Willing to try various search strategies Broad vs deep usage –Danger of electronic cannon formation –How to assess and fund this?

12 Recommendations- Producers Logs must be made available Producers must be aware of how demanding users are of digital resource quality Barriers to access must be avoided Careful thought given to interface design Naming of resource vital Documentation about provenance, extent and selection needed

13 Recommendations- Funders Broadly used resources must be distinguished from pure research Provision for small research communities –Avoidance of electronic cannon formation Librarians need proper training in Digital Humanities resources –Physical information resources vital and must be funded as such

14 Why does all this matter? Users are staying away in their droves Literally hundreds of neglected resources Most projects have very little contact with users –Success is almost a happy accident –Dreadful waste of effort and indeed money Presumably we do want people to use the digital resources we create


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