BT Review: People
School of Computing Science
IDC convenor: Paul
in Digital Libraries (RIDL)
BT Digital Library Review
broad-scoped review of the digital library
system used at BT Laboratories has been conducted by Richard
Butterworth. The aim of this review was to lay the foundations of a
much more involved investigation into how usability can be designed into
an information management system. This six month, internally funded project
delivered a review describing the intended use of the library, how that
intention is designed for, and the actual use of the library.
As part of a more traditional paper based library BT maintain an electronic
library for use by their (primarily) technical staff. The digital library
is built from several collections of electronic bibliography information
(PROCOS, the ACM digital library, etc.) and gives a consistent interface
and searching mechanisms to those collections. The library is updated
and maintained in-house by a dedicated team of designers.
The review of the system addressed three major areas:
- What expectations BT management have for the library: why was the
library implemented? What purposes does it exist to fulfil?
- How the designers have implemented the library to fulfil those needs:
how the library is structured and by what rationale, what design process
- What experience do the user populations have of the library: do they
actually use it? if not, why not? does it help or hinder them in their
wider work context? Is the library used in ways not predicted by management
and the designers?
This review acted as a `pump-priming' exercise for further digital library
projects. In particular it led to an EPSRC funded project in collaboration
with BT studying usability evaluation techniques for
the design of interactive digital libraries.
The project was for six months and was internally funded. It commenced
in February 2000 and finished in July 2000.
RIDL staff involved in this project are
Last updated 23 November 2002