I posted a while ago about the potential benefits of sharing usability results between libraries, and there was some interest in Worldcat usability testing at the time.

In that context, some readers may be interested in the following report which OCLC prepared for distribution at ALA:

Some Findings from WorldCat Local Usability Tests Prepared for ALA Annual, July 2009 [pdf]

There is a lot of interesting material in the report (which is a readable 8 pages). I was especially interested to read the section on FRBR given my post the other day on how different services handle the presentation of works.

Here are some snippets:

We found that in general work-level granularity for search results based on FRBR rather than edition-level granularity fit the expectations of both academic and public library test participants.
Undergraduate test participants, primarily in the humanities and social sciences, reported that they seldom (seven participants of ten participants) or never (three participants) looked for a specific edition of a book.
We repeatedly heard editions sometimes matter to scholars--the last, the first, the last during the author's lifetime. Historians expressed a preference for the first edition of primary sources and the most recent edition of secondary sources.

Comments: 1

Aug 10, 2009
James Pakala

Historical sources and literary works are not the only publications for which edition information is essential. New editions in psychology, religion, philosophy, counseling, etc. can be critically significant. Faculty and students consciously and sometimes unconsciously rely on the library to track what's happening, alert them, help discern changes, and provide current and previous editions as needed.