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Meet or manage ? User expectations of digital libraries David Bawden (UK) Polona Vilar (Slovenia)

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Presentation on theme: "Meet or manage ? User expectations of digital libraries David Bawden (UK) Polona Vilar (Slovenia)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Meet or manage ? User expectations of digital libraries David Bawden (UK) Polona Vilar (Slovenia)

2 Some questions 1.a)What do users expect of digital libraries (DLs)? How do we know? b)How do these differ from their expectations of conventional libraries? Why? 2.a) Do they typically expect too much or too little? Why? b)Do expectations differ between types or groups of users? 3.a)Should we always hope to 'meet' expectations? b)Do we sometimes have to 'manage' expectations?

3 Question 1a  What do users expect of digital libraries (DLs) ?  How do we know ?

4 What do they expect ? Comprehensive, include everything Accessible – everything immediately available Immediate gratification, speed of response Followability of data, seamless Ease of use, single interface Multiple formats – text, images, sound

5 How do we know ? mainly anecdote and opinion little systematic research (Fast and Campbell a good example)

6 Question 1b  How do these differ from their expectations of conventional libraries ?  Why ?

7 Dislike for librarian – go to a digital library No time for a ‘traditional’ library 24/7 access Digital library more useful Wider coverage, all in one place Smell of books User can keep the material, make their own collection

8 Price in favour of ‘traditional’. Or is it? Inconvenience of tachnology Expecting entire documents User doesn’t know what to expect Missing context Varying experiences, many reasons Disabled users

9 They expect the all things just listed They don’t expect these from conventional libraries

10 Why Web searching is shaping user expectations of what an information retrieval system looks like, how it behaves, and how to interact with it….[Digital libraries] are now being used by people who have extensive experience on systems that require almost no training, and which produce immediate, if not completely satisfying, results (Fast and Campbell) [library users are now] people who want fast, easy access to unlimited, full-text content using interfaces that require no critical thought or evaluation (Bell)

11 Why ? Experience with the web the ‘Amazoogle effect’ (Dempsey) also changes in society –immediate gratification –greater speed –more information rich

12 Question 2a  Do users typically expect too much or too little from DLs?  Why ?

13 Too much or too little ? usually too much but the picture is not clear

14 The disconnect between the users expectations and the librarians reality is often greater in the virtual world than in the traditional face-to-face meeting. Increasingly more users see the virtual reference encounter as magically solving a whole range of problems with instant answers and full-text electronic content. (Straw)

15 Why ? studies show that users believe that web search is fast and easy, providing immediate access to information and giving them what they want by contrast, they find that traditional library systems, even in digital form such as OPAC, are disappointing, frustrating, illogical, counter-intuitive, intimidating …

16 Solution one way to overcome this may be to make DLs look like the web … but this may lead to unreasonably high expectations

17 Question 2b  Do expectations differ in any systematic way between different types or groups of users ?  Does knowing of such differences help DL service providers ?

18 Do expectations differ ? Some evidence that they do –earth scientists, information specialists, educators (University of California Alexia project) – staff, UG, PG (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand) – library staff, hobbyists, scholars, researchers, object seekers, rummagers, surfers, teachers, students (Library of Congress)

19 Users don’t expect too much or too little, but the right thing for their need They expect greater user friendliness No difference between ‘traditional’ and ‘digital’ libraries Target user groups Do the users need both libraries? Different expectations stemming from experience, age, profession

20 Does knowing differences help ? Some evidence that it does –Library of Congress New Digital Library project

21 Question 3a  Should we always hope to 'meet' user expectations, by providing better services ?  How realistic is this ?

22 Meeting expectations The organisation and control that characterises an online library catalogue must be packaged and presented in a way that anticipates and tries to minimise the intimidation and frustration that {users} feel upon trying to take advantage of these benefits (Fast and Campbell)

23 But the more a digital library looks like the Web … … the higher user expectations will be

24 Question 3b  Do we sometimes have to 'manage' expectations, by explanation and instruction ?  to avoid disappointment from unrealistic/impossible expectations ?  to help users appreciate the new, and perhaps unexpected, things that DLs can do ?

25 Managing unrealistic expectations, example 1 need to help users understand quickly: what items are NOT in the digital library that few primary material are online that there are many levels of search to work through that there are many access points, but they are not uniform (Library of Congress, National Digital Library Program)

26 Managing unrealistic expectations, example 2 describe the situation as fully as possible in the interface. change the interaction metaphor, from a search box, to a discussion list thread (managing expectations of a virtual reference service at Middlesex University UK)

27 Interactive process (talking to users, asking them, explaining,...) ‘Shaping technique’ much more useful Personal communication very important Managing as the both-way process ‘User expectation management’

28 Summary several main questions some understanding from studies much still to be understood.. … and put into practice

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