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Navigation, findability and the usage of cultural heritage on the web: an exploratory study

Fransson, Jonas LU (2014)
Abstract
The present thesis investigates the usage of cultural heritage resources on the web. In recent years cultural heritage objects has been digitalized and made available on the web for the general public to use. The thesis addresses to what extent the digitalized material is used, and how findable it is on the web. On the web resources needs to be findable in order to be visited and used. The study is done at the intersection of several research areas in Library and Information Science; Information Seeking/Human Information Behaviour, Interactive Information Retrieval, and Webometrics.



The two thesis research questions focus on different aspects of the study: (1) findability on the web; and (2) the usage and the users. The... (More)
The present thesis investigates the usage of cultural heritage resources on the web. In recent years cultural heritage objects has been digitalized and made available on the web for the general public to use. The thesis addresses to what extent the digitalized material is used, and how findable it is on the web. On the web resources needs to be findable in order to be visited and used. The study is done at the intersection of several research areas in Library and Information Science; Information Seeking/Human Information Behaviour, Interactive Information Retrieval, and Webometrics.



The two thesis research questions focus on different aspects of the study: (1) findability on the web; and (2) the usage and the users. The usage of the cultural heritage is analysed with Savolainen’s Everyday Life Information Seeking (ELIS) framework. The IS&R framework by Ingwersen and Järvelin is the main theoretical foundation, and a conceptual framework is developed so the examined aspects could be related to each other more clearly. An important distinction in the framework is between object and resource. An object is a single document, file or html page, whereas a resource is a collection of objects, e.g. a cultural heritage web site. Three webometric levels are used to both combine and distinguish the data types: usage, content, and structure. The interaction between the system and its users’ information search process was divided into query dependent and query independent aspects. The query dependent aspects contain the information need on the user side and the topic of the content on the system side. The query independent aspects are the structural findability on the system side and the users search skills on the user side. The conceptual framework is summarised in the User-Resource Interaction (URI) model.



The research design is a methodological triangulation, in the form of a mixed methods approach in order to obtain measures and indicators of the resources and the usage from different angels. Four methods are used: site structure analysis; log analysis; web survey; and findability analysis. The research design is both sequential and parallel, the site structure analysis preceded the log analysis and the findability analysis, and the web survey was employed independent of the other methods. Three Danish resources are studied: Arkiv for Dansk Litteratur (ADL), a collection of literary texts written by authors; Kunst Index Danmark (KID), an index of the holdings in the Danish art museums; and Guaman Poma Inch Chronicle (Poma), a digitalized manuscript on the UNESCO list of World cultural heritage. The studied log covers all usage during the period October to December 2010.



The site structure is analysed so the resources can be described as different levels, based on function and content. The results from the site structure analysis are used both in the log analysis and the findability analysis, as well as a way to describe the resources. In the log analysis navigation strategies and navigation patterns are studied. Navigation through a web search engine is the most common way to reach the resources, but both direct navigation and link navigation are also used in all three resources. Most users arrive in the middle level in ADL and KID, at information on authors and artists. On average cultural heritage objects are viewed in half of the session. In the analysis of the web survey answers two groups of users’ are distinguished, the professional user in a work context and users in a hobby or leisure context. School or study as a context is prominent in Guaman Poma, the Inca Chronicle. Generally are pages about the cultural heritage more frequently visited than the digitized cultural heritage objects.



In the findability framework six aspects are identified as central for the findability of an object on the web: attributes of the object, accessibility, internal navigation, internal search, reachability and web prestige. The six aspects are evaluated through seven indicators. All studied objects are findable in the analysis using the findability framework. A findability issue in KID is the use of the secure https protocol instead of http, which leads to the objects in KID having no PageRank value in Google and thereby a lower ranking in comparison to similar objects with a PageRank value. The internal findability is reduced for the objects in top of all three resources, e.g. the first page, due to the focus of the internal search engine on the cultural heritage objects. Several possible adjustment or developments of the findability frameworks is discussed, such as changing the weightning between the aspects measured, alternative scores and automated measuring.



In conclusion, the investigation adds to our knowledge about how resources with digitalized cultural heritage are accessed and used, as well as how findable they are. The thesis provides both theoretical and conceptual contributions to research. The IS&R framework has been adapted to the web, the information search process was split into query dependent and query independent aspects, and a whole findability framework has been developed. Both the empirical findings and the theoretical advancements support the development of better access to web resources. (Less)
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author
opponent
  • Professor Borlund, Pia, University of Copenhagen
  • Professor Pharo, Nils, Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Science
  • Professor Savolainen, Reijo, University of Tampere
organization
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
pages
306 pages
publisher
Royal School of Library and Information Science, University of Copenhagen
defense location
Royal School of Library and Information Science, University of Copenhagen, Birketinget 6. DK-2300 København S
defense date
2014-04-03 13:00
ISBN
978-87-7415-325-2
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
86528241-0c1f-4916-a7b7-a2b486c61a29 (old id 4391130)
date added to LUP
2014-04-08 07:24:31
date last changed
2016-09-19 08:45:09
@misc{86528241-0c1f-4916-a7b7-a2b486c61a29,
  abstract     = {The present thesis investigates the usage of cultural heritage resources on the web. In recent years cultural heritage objects has been digitalized and made available on the web for the general public to use. The thesis addresses to what extent the digitalized material is used, and how findable it is on the web. On the web resources needs to be findable in order to be visited and used. The study is done at the intersection of several research areas in Library and Information Science; Information Seeking/Human Information Behaviour, Interactive Information Retrieval, and Webometrics. <br/><br>
<br/><br>
The two thesis research questions focus on different aspects of the study: (1) findability on the web; and (2) the usage and the users. The usage of the cultural heritage is analysed with Savolainen’s Everyday Life Information Seeking (ELIS) framework. The IS&amp;R framework by Ingwersen and Järvelin is the main theoretical foundation, and a conceptual framework is developed so the examined aspects could be related to each other more clearly. An important distinction in the framework is between object and resource. An object is a single document, file or html page, whereas a resource is a collection of objects, e.g. a cultural heritage web site. Three webometric levels are used to both combine and distinguish the data types: usage, content, and structure. The interaction between the system and its users’ information search process was divided into query dependent and query independent aspects. The query dependent aspects contain the information need on the user side and the topic of the content on the system side. The query independent aspects are the structural findability on the system side and the users search skills on the user side. The conceptual framework is summarised in the User-Resource Interaction (URI) model. <br/><br>
<br/><br>
The research design is a methodological triangulation, in the form of a mixed methods approach in order to obtain measures and indicators of the resources and the usage from different angels. Four methods are used: site structure analysis; log analysis; web survey; and findability analysis. The research design is both sequential and parallel, the site structure analysis preceded the log analysis and the findability analysis, and the web survey was employed independent of the other methods. Three Danish resources are studied: Arkiv for Dansk Litteratur (ADL), a collection of literary texts written by authors; Kunst Index Danmark (KID), an index of the holdings in the Danish art museums; and Guaman Poma Inch Chronicle (Poma), a digitalized manuscript on the UNESCO list of World cultural heritage. The studied log covers all usage during the period October to December 2010.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
The site structure is analysed so the resources can be described as different levels, based on function and content. The results from the site structure analysis are used both in the log analysis and the findability analysis, as well as a way to describe the resources. In the log analysis navigation strategies and navigation patterns are studied. Navigation through a web search engine is the most common way to reach the resources, but both direct navigation and link navigation are also used in all three resources. Most users arrive in the middle level in ADL and KID, at information on authors and artists. On average cultural heritage objects are viewed in half of the session. In the analysis of the web survey answers two groups of users’ are distinguished, the professional user in a work context and users in a hobby or leisure context. School or study as a context is prominent in Guaman Poma, the Inca Chronicle. Generally are pages about the cultural heritage more frequently visited than the digitized cultural heritage objects.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
In the findability framework six aspects are identified as central for the findability of an object on the web: attributes of the object, accessibility, internal navigation, internal search, reachability and web prestige. The six aspects are evaluated through seven indicators. All studied objects are findable in the analysis using the findability framework. A findability issue in KID is the use of the secure https protocol instead of http, which leads to the objects in KID having no PageRank value in Google and thereby a lower ranking in comparison to similar objects with a PageRank value. The internal findability is reduced for the objects in top of all three resources, e.g. the first page, due to the focus of the internal search engine on the cultural heritage objects. Several possible adjustment or developments of the findability frameworks is discussed, such as changing the weightning between the aspects measured, alternative scores and automated measuring.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
In conclusion, the investigation adds to our knowledge about how resources with digitalized cultural heritage are accessed and used, as well as how findable they are. The thesis provides both theoretical and conceptual contributions to research. The IS&amp;R framework has been adapted to the web, the information search process was split into query dependent and query independent aspects, and a whole findability framework has been developed. Both the empirical findings and the theoretical advancements support the development of better access to web resources.},
  author       = {Fransson, Jonas},
  isbn         = {978-87-7415-325-2},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {306},
  publisher    = {ARRAY(0x7f54ce8)},
  title        = {Navigation, findability and the usage of cultural heritage on the web: an exploratory study},
  year         = {2014},
}