A Cognitive Task Analysis Approach for Usability Evaluation of Digital Libraries

A Cognitive Task Analysis Approach for Usability Evaluation of Digital Libraries

Ping Li (City University of New York, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2991-2.ch010
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This chapter focuses on the usability evaluation of Digital Libraries (DL). The research literature in this area is reviewed. The strengths and weaknesses of the traditional evaluation techniques are discussed. A Cognitive Task Analysis (CTA) approach is proposed based on its applicability for the iterative and formative usability evaluation of digital libraries. The theoretical framework and features of CTA are explained. The advantages of the proposed approach for the usability evaluation of digital libraries are elucidated and the procedure of carrying out this type of evaluation is detailed. Future directions for DL usability evaluation, especially for the purpose of iterative design process, are recommended.
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The evaluation of digital libraries is a challenging task because of the complicated technology, rich content and variety of users who are involved (Borgman, Leazer, Gilliland-Swetland, & Gazan, 2000; Saracevic & Covi, 2000). While various sets of criteria have been developed for the evaluation of digital libraries, the most recognized ones are derived from evaluation criteria for traditional libraries, Information Retrieval (IR) system performance, and human-computer interaction (Chowdhury & Chowdhury, 2003; Marchionini, 2000; Saracevic, 2000; Saracevic & Covi, 2000). In the past years, DL evaluation research has been conducted on different aspects and can be summarized mainly into such categories as 1) general DL evaluation framework and evaluation criteria, 2) specific DL evaluation framework and evaluation criteria, 3) usability studies, and 4) evaluation studies on other aspects (Xie, 2008, p. 1348).

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