Regular contribution

International Journal on Digital Libraries

, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 82-92

First online:

From physical to digital: a case study of computer scientists’ behaviour in physical libraries

  • Hanna StelmaszewskaAffiliated withInteraction Design Centre, Middlesex University Email author 
  • , Ann BlandfordAffiliated withUCL Interaction Centre, University College London

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There has been substantial research on various aspects of people’s usage of physical libraries but relatively little on their interaction with individual library artefacts; that is: books, journals, and papers. We have studied people’s behaviour when working in physical libraries, focusing particularly on how they interact with these artefacts, how they evaluate them, and how they interact with librarians. This study provides a better understanding of how people interact with paper information, from which we can draw implications for some requirements of the design of digital libraries, while recognising that the term ‘library’ is a metaphor when applied to electronic document collections. In particular, improved communication with other library users and with librarians could facilitate more rapid access to relevant information and support services, and structuring information presentation so that users can make rapid assessments of its relevance would improve the efficiency of many information searches.


HCI Digital libraries User requirements Physical libraries