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.