ASIS Midyear '98 Proceedings

Collaboration Across Boundaries:
Theories, Strategies, and Technology



Customized Products:
Users and Developers as Collaborators

Sandi Blackburn and Dan Mahoney

Los Alamos National Laboratory


The Research Library at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) would like to share its accumulated knowledge of user research and product design with other organizations. The challenges faced at LANL, such as bridging the gap between users and developers, customizing products for a varied user population, are experienced in all information centers that continue the migration to electronic resources.

Currently each element of our Beta-testing process is itself being tested for its appropriateness for incorporating user input into product development. The goal is to create a truly collaborative environment between users and developers with open forums for user input and effective incorporation of this information into product design.

The demonstration for the 1998 ASIS Mid-Year Meeting will outline the steps of product testing, the Beta-testing process, including how these steps were formulated and tested within the user population. The presentation will detail the Beta-testing process in existence, evaluate its success, and also iterate the various means used to develop the process. Products resulting from application of the process, which range from search screens to interactive, dynamically produced custom products, will be explored and their appropriateness for different user groups. A highlight will be the "custom web page" program. In this module the developers have supplied the users with electronic tools necessary to design a personalized information resource. This represents a collaborative product where each participant brings his or her particular expertise to the product design. A workstation for conference participants to design their own customized web site is also planned.


Demonstration presented at the 1998 midyear meeting of the Association for Information Science, May 17-20, 1998, Orlando, Florida.

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Last updated 5/28/98

Proceedings edited by Barbara M. Wildemuth.
Conference web pages maintained by Jan White.