Bibliotecas Digitais: modelo metodológico para avaliação de usabilidade


IBICT - Instituto Brasileiro de Informação em Ciência e Tecnologia




It aims to analyze and develop methodology for evaluation of digital libraries with a focus on usability. This study discusses aspects of the evaluation of digital libraries, considered as information devices that assist in the democratization of information mediated by technologies. Such libraries can be understood as environments for organization, storage, dissemination and access to information by means of a communication network, which provides the tools for the individuals to access, create and recreate texts, produce their own work, as well as interact with and retrieve information potentials never seen before. The study presents the history of knowledge repositories from the oral through the digital era, situating the digital libraries in history with emphasis on their emergence and evolution, as well as the various concepts and characteristics of digital libraries found in the literature of Information Science. The study discusses the importance of evaluating these libraries due to the absence of international standards for measuring them. It also examines the role of the interface in the user-system interaction, focusing on the aspects of usability and information architecture. The study evokes, a priori, the usability criteria introduced by Jeng (2005a) and Saracevic (2005) as categories to, using the content analysis, formulate a methodological proposal for evaluating usability in digital libraries. The content analysis was then performed in 57 national and foreign papers concurrently addressing the themes evaluation and usability of digital libraries. To implement the methodological proposal the author adopted the following procedures: Identification of documents that deals with methodologies for usability evaluation in digital libraries; analysis of the methodologies found in literature and identification of the analysis categories aiming at building an evaluation methodology for digital libraries. The papers used in the research corpus covered the period from 1998 through 2008. The developed model is characterized as a formal usability test, and it aims to measure efficiency, effectiveness and satisfaction in digital libraries. For validation, a formal usability test was performed in the Biblioteca Virtual de Saúde [Virtual Health Library] (BVS) with fifteen subjects, four faculty members and eleven students. The test consisted of three instruments for data collection; one profile/experience questionnaire; one list of ten tasks to be performed using the BVS s website; and one questionnaire with eight open questions designed to elicit perceptions about the library and its resources. The methodological model was implemented between December 5th and 21st, 2011 at the computer lab of the Health Sciences Center of Federal University of Paraíba. From the results of the usability test it is possible to infer that the BVS shows a good level of effectiveness and efficiency. Regarding satisfaction, it reached a satisfactory level, according to the answers provided by the participants in the open questions. The study found some usability problems and presented suggestions for improving the digital librarys interface and, consequently, the user-digital library interaction.


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