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What user interface is most appropriate for my IR?

Take action

  • Survey how your users will be accessing the materials in your IR.
  • Consider the case studies from 'IR-Prepare' and explore their use of interfaces.


  • Dryad Repository Usability wiki [Link]
  • Ottaviani, J. (2006) "University of Michigan DSpace (a.k.a. Deep Blue) Usability Studies: Summary Findings". University of Michigan. [Link]


  • Vroegop, Anne. Interview from the International Symposium on Public Policies for Digital Collections, held April 26-29 2010 in San Paulo, Brazil. Vimeo, 08:42, 2010 April. Posted by Casa de Cultura Digital.  [Link]

Interview with researcher from the Netherlands Institute for Heritage on how to think about interface and user experience.


  • Cunningham, S.J., et al. "An Ethnographic Study of Institutional Repository Librarians: Their Experiences of Usability". In Proc. Open Repositories 2007. San Antonio, TX, USA. 2007.
  • Kuhlthau, C.C. "Inside the Search Process: Information Seeking from the User's Perspective". Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology. 42(5): p. 361-371. 1999.

"The article discusses the users' perspective of information seeking. A model of the information search process is presented derived from a series of five studies investigating common experiences of users in information seeking situations. The cognitive and affective aspects of the process of information seeking suggest a gap between the users' natural process of information use and the information system and intermediaries' traditional patterns of information provision."

  • McKay, Dana. "Institutional Repositories and Their 'Other' Users: Usability Beyond Authors." Ariadne. 30 July 2007. [Link]

"If institutional repositories (IRs) were all that their proponents could have hoped, they would be providing researchers with better access to research, improving institutional prestige, and assisting with formal research assessment. The reality, though, is that IRs are less frequently implemented, harder to fill, and less visible than their advocates would hope or expect. (...) While technical platforms for IRs, such as DSpace and ePrints have seen an abundance of research, little is known about the users of IRs, neither how they use IR software, nor how usable it is for them. IR users can be divided into three main groups: authors, information seekers, and data creators/maintainers; while authors are reasonably well understood, the latter groups are particularly under-studied."

  • Schaffner, Jennifer. "The Metadata Is the Interface: Better Description for Better Discovery of Archives and Special Collections, Synthesized from User Studies." Dublin, OH: Online Computer Library Center (OCLC), 2009. [Link]

"This essay—part of a series of OCLC Research projects to mobilize unique materials—synthesizes evidence of what descriptive information people say they need for research. As this literature review got underway, it soon became evident that we already know most of what we need to know in order to get started making changes."


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