People and Computers XVIII — Design for Life

pp 89-102

Designing for Expert Information Finding Strategies

  • Bob FieldsAffiliated withInteraction Design Centre, Middlesex University
  • , Suzette KeithAffiliated withInteraction Design Centre, Middlesex University
  • , Ann BlandfordAffiliated withUCL Interaction Centre, University College London, Remax House

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This paper reports on a study of evaluating and generating requirements for the user interface of a digital library. The study involved observation of librarians using the digital library, working on information finding problems on behalf of clients of the library. The study showed that librarians, familiar with the particular digital library system and with information retrieval work in general, possess a repertoire of relatively simple, yet effective, strategies for carrying out searches, and that non-librarians tend not to deploy the same strategies. After describing the study and the most commonly observed strategies, this paper makes some suggestions for how an understanding of how the librarians organize their activities may generate design ideas for user interfaces that aid ‘ordinary’ users in making use of the strategies that help librarians to be effective users.


digital libraries empirical study usability expertise