Evaluating the usability and usefulness of a digital library

S. Buchanan, A. Salako

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

39 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

System usability and system usefulness are interdependent properties of system interaction, which in combination, determine system satisfaction and usage. Often approached separately, or in the case of digital libraries, often focused upon usability, there is emerging consensus among the research community for their unified treatment and research attention. However, a key challenge is to identify, both respectively and relatively, what to measure and how, compounded by concerns regarding common understanding of usability measures, and associated calls for more valid and complete measures within integrated and comprehensive models. The purpose of this paper is to address this challenge. Identified key usability and usefulness attributes and associated measures, compiled an integrated measurement framework, identified a suitable methodological approach for application of the framework, and conducted a pilot study on an interactive search system developed by a Health Service as part of their e-library service. Effectiveness, efficiency, aesthetic appearance, terminology, navigation, and learnability are key attributes of system usability; and relevance, reliability, and currency key attributes of system usefulness. There are shared aspects to several of these attributes, but each is also sufficiently unique to preserve its respective validity. They can be combined as part of a multi-method approach to system evaluation. Pilot study has demonstrated that usability and usefulness can be readily combined, and that questionnaire and observation are valid multi-method approaches, but further research is called for under a variety of conditions, with further combinations of methods, and larger samples. This paper provides an integrated measurement framework, derived from the goal, question, metric paradigm, which provides a relatively comprehensive and representative set of system usability and system usefulness attributes and associated measures, which could be adapted and further refined on a case-by-case basis.
LanguageEnglish
Pages638-651
Number of pages14
JournalLibrary Review
Volume58
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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system of action
currency
technical language
aesthetics
health service
paradigm
efficiency
questionnaire
evaluation
community

Keywords

  • digital libraries
  • systems analysis
  • user studies

Cite this

Buchanan, S. ; Salako, A. / Evaluating the usability and usefulness of a digital library. In: Library Review. 2009 ; Vol. 58, No. 9. pp. 638-651.
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Evaluating the usability and usefulness of a digital library. / Buchanan, S.; Salako, A.

In: Library Review, Vol. 58, No. 9, 2009, p. 638-651.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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