Postprint version. Published in The Electronic Library, Volume 27, Issue 3, January 1, 2009, pages 409-425. Copyright © 2009 Emerald Publishing Group. The definitive version is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/02640470910966862.
Purpose –Soft Systems Methodology (SSM) processes fortified by collaborative evidence-based librarianship (EBL) principles can guide end-user involvement in digital library project design and development. User-generated research examples reveal the efficacy of this inclusive human-focused approach for building systems.
Design/Methodology/Approach – From 2003 to 2006, user-centered interaction design guided increasingly complex human-computer interaction (HCI) projects at California Polytechnic State University. Toward that end, project planners invited polytechnic students, supervised by computer science professors, to assess peers’ information seeking needs. This student-generated evidence informed creation of paper prototypes and implementation of usability tests. Sustained relationships between planners and beneficiaries permitted iterative evaluation and continuous improvement of design concepts and product functionalities.
Findings – Purposeful conversations aimed at learning from user-generated evidence enriches the planning process for digital library projects. Reflective of the ‘learn by doing’ educational values of the organization, this approach advanced learning among both users and planners throughout user-centered (re)design experiences.
Practical Implications –Collaborative design assumes that enabling interfaces, systems, and environments are best designed and developed inclusively, with and for beneficiaries. Toward that end, practical guidelines are offered to enable replication of this approach, which depends on user produced and interpreted evidence, in other organizational settings.
Originality/Value – A paucity of literature exists on the relevance of evidence-based librarianship in the digital age. Similarly, too little applied research has adopted a human-centered focus for design and development of information systems. Finally, too few digital library projects recognize the value of initiating positive user experiences at project inception.
Information and Library Science