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Taylor’s Value-Added Model: Still Relevant After All These Years

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Title: Taylor’s Value-Added Model: Still Relevant After All These Years
Author(s): Eisenberg, Mike; Dirks, Lee
Subject(s): value-added information theory design information technology systems
Abstract: This paper is an effort to reacquaint the information field with the work of one of its pioneers: Robert S. Taylor and his Value-Added Model. Taylor’s Value-Added model (1986) was a broad and ambitious effort to provide a unified framework for focusing on user needs and preferences in evaluating and designing information systems. Although developed in the early 1980s—before the wide-spread adoption of the microcomputer, and well-before the Internet and web–based technologies that have so changed our lives—the model holds up remarkably well in terms of explaining why various systems and systems attributes are useful and desirable or not.* The Value-Added Model seeks to explain what users want, why they want them, and how systems are able to meet (or not meet) those needs? “What do users want from information systems that would enable them to perform better, however “better performance” is defined in their context?” (Taylor p. 55) This paper updates Taylor’s work in light of dramatic developments over the past 20 years and demonstrates how the model remains highly applicable and valuable in both research and practical contexts across the interests of ischools. Robert “Bob” Taylor is well-known for his contributions to library and information science. His 1968 paper, “Question Negotiation and the Reference Process,” (Taylor 1968) was one of the first works to emphasize a user and information perspective. It remains one of the most cited works in the history of library and information science.† Taylor was also a visionary and pioneer in the movement that led to the formation of information schools. In the mid-1970s, he assumed the deanship at Syracuse, changed the name to the School of Information Studies and launched their doctoral program and later the Master’s in Information Resources Management. Taylor finished his career with his work on the Value-Added Model. The goals of this paper are: (1) To reintroduce the field to Taylor’s model. (2) To suggest revisions to the model based on our experience and our interactions with information professionals and graduate students. (3) To demonstrate the widespread applicability of the modified model in current contexts to better understanding users, information, systems, as well as the scope of the information field. (4) To offer recommendations for further work to develop and use the modified model. * We state this from personal experience in using Taylor’s model in formal presentations and graduate courses. † For example, a quick “Cited Reference Search in the ISI Web of Knowledge notes 255 citations for the 1968 College & Research Libraries paper. Eisenberg/Dirks 2008 p. 2 The Taylor model (both the original and our proposed modified model) helps explain the motivation of users, why certain systems and systems features perform so well in meeting user’s needs or not (e.g., electronic spreadsheets, email, Google, Amazon, GUI, the Web, social networks).
Issue Date: 2008-02-28
Genre: Conference Paper / Presentation
Type: Text
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/15081
Date Available in IDEALS: 2010-03-03
 

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