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Researching Researchers: Avalon's Repository Usage


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Deborah Cane, Northwestern University
Carolyn Caizzi, Northwestern University
Presentation at Open Repositories, 2016

Published in: Technology
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Researching Researchers: Avalon's Repository Usage

  1. 1. Researching Researchers: Avalon Media System's Ethnographic Study of Media Repository Usage at Northwestern University Deborah Cane, Repository Community Manager Northwestern University Carolyn Caizzi, Head of Repository and Digital Curation Northwestern University Open Repositories 2016 June 14, 2016
  2. 2. What is Avalon? Avalon Media System enables libraries and archives to easily curate, distribute and provide online access to their a/v collections for purposes of teaching, learning and research.
  3. 3. What is Avalon? Open source software system currently directed by Indiana University & Northwestern University Hydra Solution Bundle
  4. 4. What is Avalon? • Avalon’s Product Goals: – Easily installable and configurable – Serve a variety of use cases and institutions – Create a basis for sustainable development
  5. 5. Project Funding • 2010 – 2011: IMLS Planning Grant • 2011-2015: National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services • 2015-2016: Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
  6. 6. Goals of current Mellon grant 1. Develop additional Avalon functionality 2. Conduct studies of use of audio and video collections by humanities researchers 3. Develop and implement a community-funded business and governance model 4. Deploy Avalon in a hosted SaaS model for testing/pilot
  7. 7. Overview • Brief Background • Why ETHNOGRAPHIC research? • Our research methods • Early results • Lessons Learned Thus Far
  8. 8. 2015-2017 Mellon Grant
  9. 9. Why this research matters to Avalon: OUTREACH • Communicating the value of Avalon for research to potential Avalon adopters. • Distinguishing Avalon from other solutions that do not speak to research use cases.
  10. 10. Why this research matters to Avalon: DEVELOPMENT • User research will help us ensure that future features fit media researchers’ needs. – Personas – Use Cases – Understanding competing products
  11. 11. NU’s Use Cases
  12. 12. Learning Tools Interoperability
  13. 13. Why ethnographic research for software?
  14. 14. Why ethnographic research for software? Ethnography is the social equivalent of usability testing. Where usability is about how people directly interact with a technology in the more traditional sense, ethnography is about how people interact with each other. As UX designers, we’re primarily concerned with how we can use such research to solve a problem through the introduction or revision of technology. -Nathanael Boehm
  15. 15. Why ethnographic research?
  16. 16. Which ethnographic research?
  17. 17. Uncover issues users have, both with technology they employ and with the research technology is supposed to aid. User Research Methodology CONTEXUAL INQUIRY
  18. 18. User Research Methodology CONTEXUAL INQUIRY The key differentiator between contextual inquiry and other user research methods is that contextual inquiry occurs in context. It’s not simply an interview, and it’s not simply an observation. It involves observing people performing their tasks and having them talk about what they are doing while they are doing it.
  19. 19. User Research Methodology CONTEXUAL INQUIRY
  20. 20. User Research Methodology CONTEXUAL INQUIRY
  21. 21. User Research Methodology CONTEXUAL INQUIRY Project Description Goals for today Media Media Used (Formats) Experience Issues Applications App Used Experience Issues Equipment Equipment Used Experience Issues
  22. 22. User Research Methodology CONTEXUAL INQUIRY Step-by- Step Procedure Notes
  23. 23. User Research Methodology CONTEXUAL INQUIRY: Follow up interview
  24. 24. User Research Methodology DIARY STUDY Participants are given a diary to record and describe aspects of their lives that are relevant to a product or service. Diary studies are typically longitudinal and can only be done for data that is easily recorded by participants. A different way to capture life and the work of the same subjects as it is and not how it looks in a controlled setting.
  25. 25. DIARY STUDY
  26. 26. User Research Methodology DIARY STUDY
  27. 27. Study Results For scholars of all levels: More importance is put on content and accessing it, less on interface. They will use whatever player/tool is available to access the film/music/footage they need for their project.
  28. 28. Study Results No one uses just one tool while accessing and researching media. Ripping HandBrake MakeMKV Viewers Adobe Suite iMovie Preview QuickTime Player YouTube Note Taking Handwritten notes (legal pad/scraps of paper) TextEdit Writing Google Docs KeyNote Microsoft Word Pages Scrivener Collecting/Citing External Hard Drive DropBox EndNote Zotero “My computer is particularly slow, I should restart it, but I have too many documents open.”
  29. 29. Study Results COMMON FRUSTRATIONS USING MEDIA for SCHOLARSHIP: Difficulty locating files on own machine.
  30. 30. Study Results COMMON FRUSTRATIONS USING MEDIACOMMON FRUSTRATIONS USING MEDIA for SCHOLARSHIP: Lack of training in technology for research needs. “I should really learn how to use iMovie properly but I don’t have the time and my research budget doesn’t allow for taking a class.” (Tenure Track Study Participant, Northwestern) “I was looking for something else for my research and I found this program to use.” (Graduate Student Participant, Northwestern) “I rely on my techie-friends and students to help me when I get stuck.” (Visiting Professor Participant, Northwestern)
  31. 31. Study Results COMMON FRUSTRATIONS USING MEDIA for SCHOLARSHIP: Difficulty getting hi-res screen shots for presentations/publications/use as evidence.
  32. 32. Study Results COMMON FRUSTRATIONS USING MEDIA for SCHOLARSHIP: Lack of structural metadata in global/local searches.
  33. 33. Study Results Sand dunes in the Rub' al Khali ("Empty quarter") of Saudi Arabia, COURTESY WIKIPEDIA
  34. 34. Lessons Learned Thus Far • Bureaucracy & Your IRB
  35. 35. Lessons Learned Thus Far • Recruitment
  36. 36. From Our Mellon Grant Proposal: • The proposed user research will be multi-method, though primarily ethnographic in character: • Identify at least two disciplines for focus, such as music theory, ethnomusicology, or film studies. • Conversations with these researchers will enable us to select a set of researchers for focus who represent a wide range of media research use cases and are willing to work with us during the grant.
  37. 37. Northwestern Scholars
  38. 38. Lessons Learned Thus Far • Study Design and Methods
  39. 39. Next Steps Fall 2016: 10 new participants Winter 2017: Written report with final observations On-going: Use cases, personas, functionality and feature justification
  40. 40. We’re listening… Deborah Cane Repository Community Manager Carolyn Caizzi Head of Repository and Digital Curation