Usability of Digital Libraries in a Multicultural Environment

Usability of Digital Libraries in a Multicultural Environment

Christine L. Borgman (University of California, USA) and Edie Rasmussen (University of British Columbia, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-441-5.ch015
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Abstract

Usability is a critical issue for digital libraries, complicated by the fact that users have varying levels of knowledge of library systems and subject knowledge and may be novices or experts and frequent or occasional users of specific digital libraries. Usability is further complicated by multicultural issues, as digital library users may come from many cultures and nations, or it may be necessary to orient a digital library toward the needs of users from one or more specific localities or cultures. Usability evaluation may be formative, summative, iterative or comparative and is usually specific to a particular digital library context. The four papers in this section, illustrating formative, iterative and summative approaches, cover a variety of contexts—education, music, cultural heritage and a national digital library.

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