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Dvorak and Academic Research

John C. Dvorak is encouraging academics to do more unbiased and non-partisan research internet and computer use. I heartily agree. Read his article here.
Here’s a clip:
“Since the appearance of the desktop computer, very little academic analysis has been done on it and how people use it. Yes, there are a ton of surveys done to show that people use computers for e-mail and entertainment. These are usually done on behalf of advertisers looking for an edge. They are not helping us understand the overnight successes of experimental mechanisms.
We need real sociological research done by people who can handle it objectively, so we don’t have to listen to the carping BSers blathering on about Web 2.0 or how folksonomies are so important to users and the future. That stuff is all made up and based on speculation and invention.”
SirsiDynix has partnered with InfOhio and Kent State University Library School to do a usability study of K-12 student use of online portals and resources. It includes a lot of interesting information so far and I can’t wait for the final report. It even uses Eyetools tracking software to guage use.
Our partnership with Florida State University’s GeoLib project also gives us some good information on the use of mapping software in libraries. Add this to our FSU/SirsiDynix Normative Data Project for Libraries and you’ve got a very powerful resaerch platform. We have offered the NDP for no charge to all schools of libray and information science in North America.
Combining this with our Personas project that is nearing completion and we’ll have some really useful information to drive portal development for real end users in the public space. I am hoping to announce an academic partner soon.
I try to follow academic resarch that might be useful to SirsiDynix or my own interests. It’s pretty hard to dig out though! With so many (not all) academic librarians being requiring to research and pubic there’s a good opportunity here to study user behaviors.

Posted on: February 22, 2006, 8:51 am Category: Uncategorized

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