International Journal on Digital Libraries

, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 169-207

First online:

Interaction and the epistemic potential of digital libraries

  • Karl V. FastAffiliated withInformation Architecture and Knowledge Management, Kent State University Email author 
  • , Kamran SedigAffiliated withDepartment of Computer Science & Faculty of Information and Media Studies, University of Western Ontario

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This article presents a framework of micro-level interactions with visual representations of information in digital libraries. The framework is comprised of three basic interactions—conversing, manipulating, and navigating—and 13 task-based interactions: animating, annotating, chunking, cloning, collecting, composing, cutting, filtering, fragmenting, probing, rearranging, repicturing, and searching. In a typical digital library, the purpose of interaction is to locate and access relevant information. In this framework, the purpose of interaction is to help people create knowledge, develop understanding, solve problems, and acquire insight from the resources in a collection. In other words, interaction can have epistemic benefits and, consequently, it can be used to leverage the epistemic potential of digital libraries.


Interaction Epistemic action Information visualization Knowledge environment Digital library