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Experiences of Educators Using a Portal of Aggregated Metadata (08 Sep 2004)
Perhaps as a result of group dynamics or because the subjects wished to vent their frustration at the obstacles they encountered in using the portal, a great deal of focus group time was given over to critiques of the interface. In particular, the subjects complained that the portal's simple and advanced search pages were confusing and lacked instructions, and that the portal did a poor job of explaining its purpose. All of the subjects reported trouble making use of the Online Access Only switch in their searches. This confusion was largely the result of the inclusion of item-level records derived from EAD finding aids in the "Online Access Only" category. The subjects were unanimous in their disapproval of both the intended and actual functioning of the switch. Because finding aids refer to analog objects, the subjects resented it when finding aids were labeled as offering "online access". In addition, they referred to finding aids as "descriptions" or "lists", i.e. secondary instead of primary sources. In focus groups, subjects also reported that they found certain jargon used in the portal confusing, e.g. unique identifier, contributor, metadata. They also reported difficulty making use of advanced search features such as field-restricting and date ranges.
Article URL: http://jodi.ecs.soton.ac.uk/Articles/v05/i03/Shreeves/

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