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ERIC Number: EJ885425
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005
Pages: 37
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-1533-2748
First Entry: Report on a Qualitative Exploratory Study of Novice User Experience with Online Finding Aids
Scheir, Wendy
Journal of Archival Organization, v3 n4 p49-85 2005
Many of those now accessing archives through online finding aids are encountering primary materials (albeit virtually) for the first time. These users are often unfamiliar with finding aid structure, terminology, and principles. This article reports on a qualitative, exploratory study of a subset of these novice users. The study concentrated on four key components of online finding aids: terminology, navigation, display, and structure. The goal was to discover by what route users accomplished a given task, to determine what elements on the site helped or hindered them in completing the task, and to gain insight into their overall experience with a range of styles of online finding aids. Findings suggest that site structure often presupposed users' knowledge of archival principles. Therefore, what may seem to archivists and their web designers to be elegant solutions to resolute issues in online finding aids, in fact, confused or eluded novice users. However, findings suggest, as well, that participants went through a rapid self-education process while completing the study, leading them to more efficient searching and to a higher level of ease and confidence as they explored a variety of online finding aids. (Contains 1 table, 8 figures, and 16 notes.)
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A