VOL. 09, NO. 2; MARCH


Design and development of a digital platform to support teaching and research in Electronic Archives: a thematic portal

Brandon Bell


This contribution aims to explain, in detail, a thematic portal (http://record.ugr.es), specialized in the topic of the electronic document and its impact on the information society from the perspective of information management systems. Files and documents, carried out from the Faculty of Library Science and Documentation of the University of Granada. This portal has been developed with the intention of becoming the basis for the development of a digital platform of practices for the subjects of the Bachelor of Documentation related to the subject. The development of the practices will therefore be benefited and supported by a wide list of informative resources pertinent to the subject. As this is a portal of great support for teaching and research, the two objectives pursued by the university are therefore combined.

Human studies and user studies: a call for interdisciplinary methodology

Harley Kirk 


Drawing on extensive literature reviews focusing, in particular, on user (and audience) research in the fields of library and information science and communication studies, the author describes the increasing chaos of human studies and user studies: the plethora of theories, concepts, approaches, methods, and findings which plague researchers within and between fields and bewilder policy maker and practitioner observers. The origins and symptoms of these disciplinary overloads and the usual forms of inter-disciplinarity brought to bear on them are traced. The author argues that most usual approaches to inter-disciplinarity act as more of the same and contribute to overload conditions. She calls for a methodological approach to inter-disciplinarity based on fundamental communicative principles. For library and information science, which as a field has traditionally drawn on multi-disciplinary sources, the author cautions that, as the field sets itself to the task of assisting the inter-disciplinary needs of its constituencies, it is especially important that the field also attend to inter-disciplinary needs within its own walls, between its many disparate and disconnected discourse communities.

Embedding online information resources in virtual learning environments: some implications for lecturers and librarians in the online environment

Paige Goddard 


A short study of the use of online information resources by university lecturers using Virtual Learning Environments as a teaching tool for the first time provided insights into the strategies they use to select those resources, and into some of the difficulties they encountered when using online materials in their teaching. Data was collected through semi-structured interviews, and the interview results were then taken to a group of subject librarians and library managers for comment. Skills training emerged as a key issue for both teachers and learners, and some interesting observations were made on the working relationships of lecturing staff and librarians. The study concludes that the need for ‘new alliances’ frequently raised in current literature is indeed very apparent, but that to be most effective such co-operation may need to be at individual as well as at group level.

Visually impaired access to electronic resources

Oscar Swift 


Research undertaken by the Centre for Research in Library and Information Management has sought to enhance understanding of information seeking behaviour of blind and visually impaired people when using digital resources. The Non-Visual Access to the Digital Library project (NoVA) aimed to develop further understanding of user behaviour with web based resources, with particular reference to retrieval of information by blind and visually impaired people. Using a sample of 20 sighted and 20 visually impaired people, users undertook a number of information seeking tasks using four different electronic resources. Each step of the information seeking process was logged (at keystroke or equivalent level) and pre-task and post-task questions were asked in order to gather qualitative data. Results revealed that visually impaired users spend more time searching or browsing the web with times varying considerably depending on the design of the site. Overall, visually impaired users have to spend more time navigating around each page, especially if, for example, the page contains a lot of information or has many links. Observations revealed that people with more experience with the assistive technology they were using were more successful with the task. Whereas designers may assume that everyone has access to the new versions of assistive technology, this is not always the case. Designers, therefore, will have to take such realities into account.

Info-literacy in Europe: literature review

Edward Norman 


Examines the developments in information literacy in Europe and provides an overview of the concepts used and discussed by European authors. Some examples of information literacy initiatives in schools and the higher education sector, as well as of institutions and organizations, projects and conferences concerned with information literacy, are given. Some research initiatives are also introduced. The overview is based on literature reviews and personal observations and involvement and presents a selective review.