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Usage and Usability Assessment:

Library Practices and Concerns

by Denise Troll Covey

January 2002


Digital Library Federation
Council on Library and Information Resources
Washington, D.C.

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This report offers a survey of the methods deployed at leading digital libraries to assess the use and usability of their online collections and services. Focusing on 24 Digital Library Federation member libraries, the study's author, DLF 2002 Distinguished Fellow Denise Troll Covey, conducted numerous interviews with library professionals engaged in assessment.

The report describes the application, strengths, and weaknesses of assessment techniques that include surveys, focus groups, user protocols, and transaction log analysis. Troll Covey's work is also an essential methodological guidebook. For each method that she covers, she is careful to supply a definition, explain why and how libraries use the method, what they do with the results, and what problems they encounter. The report includes an extensive bibliography on more detailed methodological information, and descriptions of assessment instruments that have proved particularly effective.

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