LSC 555 Blog #3 Usability of digital libraries

Ferreira and Pithan’s “Usability of digital libraries: a study based on the areas of information science and human-computer-interaction” provides an informative overview of human-computer interaction concept while presenting the results of carefully designed research on the usability of digital libraries.   The specific digital library under study is the Brazilian Infohab digital library, an information and reference center on housing in Brazil.  The study seeks to integrate Kuhlthau’s constructivism with Nielsen’s thoughts on usability (Ferreira &Neilsen 2005).

The literature review section expands Neilsen’s five components for determining the usability of an information system, learnability, efficiency, memorability, errors and satisfaction.  In the section, User’s study, the authors focus on Kuhlthau’s constructivism (now familiar to us from reviewing it in 553 and 664), drilling down on affective (feelings) and cognitive (thinking) states in the information seeking process (ISP) that occurs as learners process new information.

The research method and data analysis sections are fairly standard.  I noted that it appears the Brazilians are in step with the Americans, if not several strides ahead, in designing studies on usability and human-computer interactions and I look forward to checking out some original research material in Portuguese, my second language.   The study and its results provide a timely introduction to as well as a companion piece for articles in the next section on interaction design principles.

Reference

Ferreira, S. M., & Pithan, D. N. (2005). Usability of digital libraries: A study based on the areas of information science and human-computer-interaction. OCLC Systems & Services, 21(4), 311-323.

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