Digital Library Use: Social Practice in Design and Evaluation

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MIT Press, 2003 - Computers - 341 pages
2 Reviews

The contributors to this volume view digital libraries (DLs) from a social as well as technological perspective. They see DLs as sociotechnical systems, networks of technology, information artifacts, and people and practices interacting with the larger world of work and society. As Bruce Schatz observes in his foreword, for a digital library to be useful, the users, the documents, and the information system must be in harmony.The contributors begin by asking how we evaluate DLs -- how we can understand them in order to build better DLs -- but they move beyond these basic concerns to explore how DLs make a difference in people's lives and their social worlds, and what studying DLs might tell us about information, knowledge, and social and cognitive processes. The chapters, using both empirical and analytical methods, examine the social impact of DLs and also the web of social and material relations in which DLs are embedded; these far-ranging social worlds include such disparate groups as community activists, environmental researchers, middle-school children, and computer system designers.Topics considered include documents and society; the real boundaries of a "library without walls"; the ecologies of digital libraries; usability and evaluation; information and institutional change; transparency as a product of the convergence of social practices and information artifacts; and collaborative knowledge construction in digital libraries.


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Review: Digital Library Use: Social Practice in Design and Evaluation

User Review  - Stephen - Goodreads

I'd really give this a 2.5 if I could. It's an OK book. Comprised of a series of essays dealing with specific digital library projects and practices, it attempts to illuminate key issues. And I guess ... Read full review


Introduction Digital Libraries as Sociotechnical Systems
Documents and Libraries A Sociotechnical Perspective
Finding the Boundaries of the Library without Walls
An Ecological Perspective on Digital Libraries
Designing Digital Libraries for Usability
The People in Digital Libraries Multifaceted Approaches to Assessing Needs and Impact
Participatory Action Research and Digital Libraries Refraining Evaluation
Colliding with the Real World Heresies and Unexplored Questions about Audience Economics
Information and Institutional Change The Case of Digital Libraries
Transparency beyond the Individual Level of Scale Convergence between Information Artifacts and Communities of Practice
Digital Libraries and Collaborative Knowledge Construction
The Flora of North America Project Making the Case Study for Social Realist Theory
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About the author (2003)

Nancy A. Van House is Professor, School of Information Management and Systems, University of California, Berkeley.

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