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Title:Comparative User Experiences of Next-Generation Catalogue Interfaces
Author(s):Majors, Rice
Subject(s):Next-Generation Discovery and Access
Library Catalogs
Abstract:One of the presumed advantages of next-generation library catalogue interfaces is that the user experience is improved—that it is both richer and more intuitive. Often the interfaces come with little or no user-facing documentation or imbedded “help” for patrons based on an assumption of ease of use and familiarity of the experience, having followed best practices in use on the Web. While there has been much gray literature (published on library Web sites, etc.) interrogating these implicit claims and contrasting the new interfaces to traditional Web-based catalogues, this article details a consistent and formal comparison of whether users can actually accomplish common library tasks, unassisted, using these interfaces. The author has undertaken a task-based usability test of vendor-provided next-generation catalogue interfaces and Web-scale discovery tools (Encore Synergy, Summon, WorldCat Local, Primo Central, EBSCO Discovery Service). Testing was done with undergraduates across all academic disciplines. The resulting qualitative data, noting any demonstrated trouble using the software as well as feedback or suggested improvements that the users may have about the software, will assist academic libraries in making or validating purchase and subscription decisions for these interfaces as well as help vendors make data-driven decisions about interface and experience enhancements.
Issue Date:2012
Publisher:Johns Hopkins University Press and the Graduate School of Library and Information Science. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Citation Info:Library trends 61 (1) Summer 2012: 186-207
Publication Status:published or submitted for publication
Rights Information:Copyright 2012 Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois
Date Available in IDEALS:2012-09-19

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