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Usability Test of Library Metasearch System: A Case Study of National Taiwan University Library’s Muse Search
Metasearch,Muse Search,Usability test,User study,
|Publication Year :||2010|
Metasearch systems perform simultaneous searches across heterogeneous electronic resources through a single entry. In order to serve users, more and more libraries install metasearch systems to integrate their resources. However, only a few user studies of such systems have been conducted. This study aims to investigate the usability of Muse Search, the metasearch system which installed in National Taiwan University Library, and to understand users’ viewpoints toward this system. Five components of usability were analyzed: efficient, effective, learnable, engaging, and error.
Observations and interviews were conducted in this study. Ten graduate students from the fields of humanities, social science, nature science, life science, and engineering science were solicited in the study. Students were requested to achieve four tasks. While they searching through Muse Search, researcher observed their behaviors and took notes. After tasks were completed, students were interviewed by asking questions concerning the usability of Muse Search. Their comments and satisfaction level were also collected.
The conclusions were divided into 5 components of usability. In the efficient part, results indicated that the efficiency of Muse Search could not be judged by time. In the effective part, there are five conclusions: 1. In Muse Search, users could choose several databases to search, set personal work place, organize search results, and obtain results effectively. 2. De-duplication and setting personal database list are the most effective functions. 3. Muse Search helps students to learn more relevant databases and they are willing to use those databases again. 4. Students are satisfied with the search results of Muse Search. In the learnable part, there are four conclusions: 1. Muse Search is easy to use to most students, however some function icons are hard to discover, making it unlearnable. 2. The terminologies used in the toolbar can not be understood by most students. 3. The display of resource groups is not clear enough. 4. Half of students pointed out that the whole system interface design is easy to learn. In the engaging part, there are three conclusions: 1. Students like personal database list and de-duplication. 2. Half of students feel impatient when waiting for search results, but most of them still have positive attitudes throughout the process. 3. Most students like Muse Search and are willing to use it again. In the error part, results indicated that half of students could not receive appropriate help service due to lack of instant instructions, improper location of help icon, and the inappropriate content in help screen.
According to the findings of this study, suggestions to Muse Search are as follows: 1. to revise improper display of information in Muse Search. 2. To add new search functions, or revise old ones to meet users’ needs. 3. To improve help service. 4. To revise terminologies which are difficult to understand.
|Appears in Collections:||圖書資訊學系|
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