SINN03 eProceedings

    How do visitors use and rate digital dissertation archives? A case study of the Document and Publication Server of Humboldt University Berlin

    Bettina Berendt, Elke Brenstein, Yunfan Li and Bert Wendland
    Humboldt Universität zu Berlin


    Technical progress in electronic publishing affords increasingly sophisticated archiving and retrieval options for authors as well as readers of university document publishing services. But are these options really used? To be successful, a document publishing site needs not onlyrich and interesting content. It also needs an interface with high usability, and agood communications / Internet marketing strategy that makes it known to its potential users.
    In this presentation, we address usability criteria that are specific to documentpublishing sites, and we present an investigation of the usage of the Document and Publication Server of Humboldt University Berlin as a case study (
    The digital dissertation archive of this server is highly structured using the SGML-based Dissertation Markup Language DiML, and the search interface offers advanced optionsfor semantic search based on these metadata. In a Web-based survey, 68 respondents gave their opinions on search features of the site and described their own usage of these features. They also gave their opinions on the electronic publishing of academic documents in general. Results confirmed that while respondents were generally content with the site's interface, most of them approached the site in a rather conventional way, "searching" with keywords and "browsing" to locate documents they need. This indicates that many online users still experience many difficulties when trying to use metadata in a structured way. We outline further work to help students and researchers use metadata productively, in research, education, and training.

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