Another way to look at dl research is in terms of the

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categories of DLs, but report most often on prototypes, not “real world” DLs. Another way to look at DL research is in terms of the disciplines or professions represented. Computer science is of course heavily represented in the DL world. Among the contributors to this volume, Agre, Borgman, Levy, Lynch, Marshall, Nardi, O’Day, and Schatz have backgrounds in computer science. Many computer scientists adopt an attitude of “build it and they will come” (Lynch, Chapter 8; Marchionini, Plaisant, and Komlodi, Chapter 6). However, a growing emphasis on usability assessment and user-centered design has resulted in computer science and systems design adopting some of the methods and perspectives of the social sciences: ethnographic methods (Blomberg et al. 1993), ethnographically-informed methods like contextual design (Beyer and Holtzblatt 1998), user- centered design (Vredenberg at al. 2001), and, more generally, design grounded in a better understanding of actual users at work in their own settings (Hackos and Redish 1998; Badre 2002). Library and information science (LIS) is concerned with information, documents, information systems, with users and uses, and with technologies ranging from books and 3x5 cards to computers and telecommunications and, of course, digital libraries. Among the contributors to this book, Agre, Bishop, Borgman, Bowker, Komlodi, Levy, Marchionini, Neuman, Plaisant, Spasser, Star, and Van House all have been associated with LIS to varying degrees. Within the LIS research community, Wilson (1996) identifies two distinct enterprises. One, closely related to computer science, is concerned with the technology of computer-based information systems. Wilson describes the second as “a field of social, behavioral, and humanistic studies ... a branch of what Europeans call the human sciences,” which, he states, is difficult to delineate but has to do with information and users. It is this that is most closely aligned with the research reported here. A strength of LIS has been its long emphasis on user needs as a basis for design and evaluation (e.g., Paisley 1968; Wilson 1981; Dervin and Nilan 1986; Van House et al. 1987; Van House et al. 1990; Bishop and Star 1996). However, simply asking users directly about potential uses of new technology, resources, or services yields limited information. Users often have trouble predicting how they will incorporate new capabilities into existing
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practices, and how needs and activities may change. As a consequence, LIS research has tended to look at characteristics of user groups, on the one hand, and at people’s use of libraries and information systems, on the other (e.g., Dillon 1994; Marchionini 1995; Paepcke 1996; Savolianen 1998). Other disciplines are represented in this book and in the DL world. Buttenfield is a cartographer. Her work in geographical information systems (GIS) led her to DLs containing georeferenced data. O’Day trained in computer science and is now a Ph.D. student in anthropology. Bowker is trained as an historian, Star as a sociologist, and Borgman in communications. Levy trained as a calligrapher after finishing a Ph.D. in computer science.
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  • Spring '14
  • MarkAChaves

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