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Design and Usability of Digital Libraries: Case Studies in the Asia Pacific

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Design and Usability of Digital Libraries: Case Studies in the Asia Pacific showcases some of the best digital library practices from organizations in the Asia Pacific. Particular emphasis has been placed on the design, use and usability of digital libraries. Not only are digital libraries examined, but related technologies, the management of knowledge in digital libraries, and the associated usability and social issues surrounding digital libraries are all examined. Design and Usability of Digital Libraries will benefit practitioners, researchers, educators and policy makers from a variety of disciplines. In particular developers/designers of digital libraries, librarians, users and researchers will all find this collection of case studies a valuable tool to understanding digital libraries.

Digital libraries are part of the global infrastructure being envisioned to interconnect many computer networks and various forms of information technologies around the world, a partial fulfillment of Bush’s 1945 dream “memex” of a personal microfiche-based system to tackle the problem of information overload.

Digital libraries, more organized and structured than the Web, an overwhelming example of a shared worldwide collection of information. Educational institutions, governments and corporations are spending millions of dollars on researching, developing and implementing digital libraries around the world.

Research done on the Web has shown that many Web sites are plagued with problems of usability and effectiveness. We can expect a similar situation in digital libraries since they are much more than just Web sites. In fact, they are complex and advanced forms of information systems that can be endowed with a multiplicity of functions and features. These can include collaboration support, distributed database management, hypertext, multimedia information services, information retrieval, information filtering, selective dissemination of information, intellectual property rights management, question answering and reference services, and resource discovery, among many others. Digital libraries can serve very large user populations that are composed of different stakeholder groups with different information needs. Improvements in design, development and evaluation can have a major organizational, national and international impact.

We need better theories, tools and techniques to support designers in designing, developing and evaluating digital libraries in ways that will improve usability and effectiveness to enhance users’ experience of digital library collections and services.

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