Quantitative Approach Applied to User Interface of Latin American Web OPACs

Quantitative Approach Applied to User Interface of Latin American Web OPACs

Elsa Barber, Silvia Pisano, Sandra Romagnoli, Verónica Parsiale, Gabriela de Pedro, Carolina Gregui, Nancy Blanco
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-1912-8.ch006
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This chapter studies user interfaces of Web Online Public Access Catalogs (OPACs) and presents their principal difficulties in facing the man-machine interaction and the contributions of Web 2.0 to overcome these limitations. Methodologies used to study OPACs interfaces are examined. A quantitative approach is used to analyze Web OPACs in academic, special, national, and public libraries through the conclusive use of several tests: chi-square or test of independence, logistic regression, odds ratio, analysis of variance, and discriminant analysis. The situation of Latin American Web OPACs is verified in relation to the use of Integrated Library Systems (ILS) and Database Management Systems (DBMS). This methodology is proposed to study the 2.0 functionalities in these catalogs.
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Evolution Of Opac User Interface

Wilson (2008) stated that Human Computer Interaction (HCI) is oriented towards interfaces designed to improve and facilitate users´ experiences when interacting with computers, both for work and entertainment. Cognitive Sciences may contribute in this aspect. Based on Cognitive Sciences then, HCI challenges mean that a user wishes to perform a task in a given application domain by means of a computing system used as a tool and that, also, wishes to somehow communicate with said system. This dialog must be programmed to optimize the effectiveness and efficiency related both to task performance and to diminish its complexity. Since there are many tasks different users and different domains the tendency towards User Interface for All require HIC models to consider said variations.

In the late 90s, the user interface was graphically represented as bidimensional and controlled through direct manipulation. Further technological advances led to a new type of HCI, the conversational character, with the capacity to communicate by means of different modalities (spoken language, gestures, body language), as opposed to text interfaces which use natural language only. Further research then attempted to integrate emotional and cognitive aspects, to develop speech and dialog rather than syntax (Wilson, 2008).

In this setting, which was the investigators´ idea behind OPAC and the new designs, mainly in the academic scenario with a more significant impact in both scientific and technical development? The answer to this question clearly evidences that partial issues were approached with either palliative or key solutions. Hauer (2006) pointed out that relational systems answered only 60% of the question-based searches.

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