User Interface for the Library of Congress National Digital Library

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Sept. 95 - Sept. 97

The Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory (HCIL) at the University of Maryland is assisting the Library of Congress (LC) in designing user interfaces and organizing the content of the National Digital Library (NDL). The early decisions made will influence how the NLD evolves as well as how other organizations develop digital libraries. LC leadership in digital libraries will depend on how users are able to access and use digital information as the collection grows larger and virtual collections cross the boundaries of individual digitized collections.

The goal of this collaboration is to establish a user-centered design team for the NDLP, to create interface prototypes that serve a wide range of users, and to develop a variety of tools and widgets that LC may incorporate into future implementations.

Beginning in the fall of 1995, HCIL team members met regularly with an LC team composed of librarians, managers, and technical staff to identify key interface challenges and brainstorm design approaches and features. As part of these efforts an extensive user needs assessment was conducted to determine characteristics of LC users and the types of information needs they bring to the Library. The needs assessment report presents a user typology with nine type/task components and identifies a series of interface challenges broken into content and user strategies categories. A prototype interface is now evolving over over several iterations. The prototype is not meant as a design that will itself be fully implemented but rather a means to explore different design problems and suggest design techniques and widgets to the LC implementation team.


Gary Marchionini Professor, College of Library and Information Services (PI).
Catherine Plaisant Assistant Research Scientist (co PI)
Tom Bruns, Faculty Research Assistant
Teresa Cronnell Graphic Designer
Anita Komlodi, Graduate Research Assistant, College of Library and Information Services.
David Nation, Visitor research associate
Ara Shirinian, Undergraduate Assistant
Ben Shneiderman Professor Computer Science
Raj Leyl, Graduate Research Assistant, Business School.


Reports and Papers:

Marchionini, G., Plaisant, C., Komlodi, A.
Interfaces and tools for the Library of Congress National Digital Library Program
Revision will appear in Information Processing and Management

Bringing Treasures to the Surface: Iterative design for the Library of Congress National Digital Library Program.
CS-TR-3694, CLIS-TR-9603. Revision appeared in Proc. of CHI 97, March 1997, ACM New York.

Marchionini, G., Plaisant, C., Komlodi, A. (May 1996)
User needs assessment for the Library of Congress National Digital Library,
CS-TR-3640, CAR-TR-829, CLIS-96-01.


Downloadable MPG (104 MB)

A video demonstrating the interface(s) is available from HCIL (HCIL 1997 Video Report ) or through ACM-SIGCHI as part of the CHI'98 video.

Project related information:


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