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ERIC Number: EJ891806
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 41
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1932-2909
CONTENTdm Digital Collection Management Software and End-User Efficacy
Dickson, Maggie
Journal of Web Librarianship, v2 n2-3 p339-379 2008
Digital libraries and collections are a growing facet of today's traditional library. Digital library technologies have become increasingly more sophisticated in the effort to provide more and better access to the collections they contain. The evaluation of the usability of these technologies has not kept pace with technological developments, however, and the end-user has in some cases been left behind. This research study evaluates the usability of digital collections created using the CONTENTdm Digital Collection Management System, a software system used by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Specifically, this study addresses the following questions: Does CONTENTdm meet users' needs? Is the interface sufficiently intuitive for them to use it? Is the experience of exploring digital collections using CONTENTdm satisfying to users? Employing usability testing techniques with actual-end users, this study attempts to assess the efficacy of the CONTENTdm public interface as well as user attitudes toward it. Ten participants from three user groups--faculty, library science graduate students, and the general public--performed eleven tasks designed to test the key functions of CONTENTdm-created collections and then answered a series of questions about their experiences. Key findings from this study indicate that while the included digital collections are useful and desirable to end-users, the interface generated by CONTENTdm can be confusing even for those who have considerable experience using the Internet. Results from this study may be used to improve this software system and add to the literature surrounding the usability of digital libraries in general. (Contains 12 figures and 30 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; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: North Carolina