Search   |   Back Issues   |   Author Index   |   Title Index   |   Contents



D-Lib Magazine
January 2005

Volume 11 Number 1

ISSN 1082-9873

User-Centered Design

Some things are so important they bear repeating, especially those that would appear to be obvious, for it is the seemingly obvious thing that we are most likely to overlook. So it is with the need to keep users foremost in mind when developing tools or designing interfaces for digital libraries.

Three articles in this issue of D-Lib Magazine are about projects that consider users' needs and wants while designing systems and services.

In their article "Building Educational Portals atop Digital Libraries" Fox, Manduca and Iverson describe their use of digital library technologies while designing and implementing portals to be used by geoscience faculty at Carleton College. The authors note that as they built the supporting technical infrastructure for the portals, they carefully chose those digital library technologies that "offered the biggest payoff in making our portals easier to manage and more effective for our users."

"Understanding Faculty to Improve Content Recruitment for Institutional Repositories" by Foster and Gibbons echoes the need to consider users' needs. One of the findings from their study of the institutional repository (IR) at the University of Rochester and its potential users was that there was no perceived fit between the way the IR was being promoted to faculty and researchers, and the needs expressed by those faculty and researchers. The authors conclude that a better understanding of, and response to, faculty needs is necessary to increase the deposit of content in their university's IR, which is critical to the long-term value of the IR.

The third article, "Transparent Format Migration of Preserved Web Content," by Rosenthal et al. discusses format migration of preserved web content so that the content can still be understood by future readers, even when the original and subsequent formats of that content have become obsolete over time. Using a migration approach called migration on access, the authors provide an example of format migration performed transparently on behalf of users.

Those who develop digital collections and services typically assume that users will find these services easy to learn and employ, but such conclusions need to be backed by early and ongoing user feedback and evaluation.

Bonita Wilson

Copyright© 2005 Corporation for National Research Initiatives

Letters | First Article
Home | E-mail the Editor