Introduction

Ann P. Bishop
Assistant Professor
Graduate School of Library and Information Science
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
501 E. Daniel St.
Champaign, IL 61820
(217) 244-3299
(217) 244-3302 fax
abishop@uiuc.edu


The papers presented here represent discussion documents submitted by participants in the 1995 Allerton Institute, called "How We Do User-Centered Design and Evaluation of Digital Libraries: A Methodological Forum." The Institute, sponsored by the National Science Foundation, was conducted on October 29-31 by the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois. The idea for the Institute arose from a joint meeting of investigators associated with the six NSF/ARPA/NASA Digital Library Initiative projects currently underway in universities across the country (Bishop, 1995). As chairperson of the Institute, my goal was to bring together an international, interdisciplinary group of researchers and practitioners involved in the design and study of information systems, in user-centered research in traditional libraries, and in a wide range of digital library projects. The purpose of the Institute was to present both the range of user-centered methods available for studying digital libraries and rationales for choosing amongst them; we also wanted to look ahead to new methods and developments and map out the challenges ahead of us.

Institute presentations and discussions were devoted to issues such as:

Participants submitted a brief, informal discussion document outlining their work and the issues they were most anxious to explore. A selection is included here; for the complete set of material associated with the Institute, visit the Allerton web site (http://edfu.lis.uiuc.edu/allerton/95). The discussion documents were used to develop the five major Institute sessions, which focused on co-design approaches, work practice and institutional change, migrating foundational approaches to virtual library environment, electronic information-seeking behavior, and understanding diversity and change. I hope the ideas arising from the Allerton Institute will help in building a framework for understanding the use and implications of digital information infrastructure, as our research methods, systems, and expectations of systems continually evolve. Due to the success of the meeting, participants plan to reconvene at a follow-up Allerton Institute in fall 1996.


Bishop, A. P. (1995, Oct.). Working towards an understanding of digital library use: A report on the user research efforts of the NSF/ARPA/NASA DLI Projects. D-Lib Magazine. (Available: http://www.dlib.org/)