E-Library Management: Web Usability Aspects and User-Centred Services 

Noticeboard.jpgJoseph Rogani is a librarian at the University of Calabria and has just completed a Master thesis at WIT on the topic of ‘E-Library Management: Web Usability Aspects and User-Centred Services’. The external examiner was Prof Konrad Morgan, from the University of Bergen, a distinguished academic in the field of Information Science. Prof Morgan has a PhD from the University of Edinburgh and is author of many publications in the fields of: Educational Technology, Information Systems, Software Engineering, Human Computer Interaction and Project Management.

Joseph’s thesis considers some web usability aspects and user-centred services within an academic e-library setting. One of the most important aims was to develop a Library System website that was not only “usable” in the sense that the information can be retrieved quickly and displayed in an attractive way but also that the information is a real communication of “useful” and, possibly, personalized information. The thesis points out that, to date, most of the attention has been given to library bibliographic records and to the way these records are scheduled and retrieved. Nowadays, it is more important to improve the relationship with the library users and therefore CRM (Customer Relationship Management) was considered, while creating a new web-based library service.

A case study was included which focussed on the design of a new library website according to current users’ needs, which resulted in a restructuring process of the existing Library System website at the University of Calabria (Italy). A usability test, which was described in detail, was submitted to the University’s patrons and the results are presented in the thesis.

The work assumes a particular importance because, until now, no evaluation had been made of the library system website at the University of Calabria and the purpose of the research was therefore to fill the gap as there is an ever growing need to evaluate whether or not the web pages are meeting the users’ needs and preferences. Both quantitative and qualitative approaches were made, typical of social science research. The results obtained will certainly help to improve the usability of the website.

Joseph’s thesis was well received by the examiner who recommended awarding the Master of Philosophy degree to the candidate.