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Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology



In This Issue
Bert R. Boyce





A Design Analysis Model for Developing World Wide Web Sites
    Yan Ma
    Published online 7 March 2002

In this issue Yan Ma uses a qualitative approach called reader-response criticism to analyze the construction process of a web site for Galter Health Sciences Library. Designers were interviewed to determine their intent and how they selected resources. The resources made available were selected by the librarians at Galter. The structure of the site reflected the designer's views. Seven users were interviewed as to their perceptions of meaning constructed in interaction with the site. Users had little difficulty with the features they used. Seventy-one percent of the users used the web for financial and recreational purposes, that is to say, outside the designer's intentions.









Stochastic Modeling of Usage Patterns in a Web-Based Information System
    Hui-Min Chen and Michael D. Cooper
    Published online 22 March 2002

An analysis of about 127,000 user sessions of the MELVYL union catalog produces 26 sets of defined user activity, as represented by the currently requested web page, and considered to be states. Insights into users transition from one state to another are then to be found in Chen and Cooper's examination of the twelve states which occur in level two, that is those that occur if the interaction goes beyond one page from the root, but not further. The level two state transitions were examined for each of six usage pattern clusters identified in previous work with multiple occurrences of states in sequence reduced to a single state and time in the state recorded. While the different cluster groups all have third order dependency except for the ``highly interactive-good results'' cluster which exhibited forth order, all have distinct patterns of use. The usage patterns derived permit a prediction of a user's next move in a search based upon past moves.










Digital Reference: Reference Librarians' Experiences and Attitudes
    Joseph Janes
    Published online 20 March 2002

To sample reference librarians public and academic libraries were chosen by Janes and each classed by staff size into large, medium, and small categories. Each library was sent survey instruments, whose number was determined by their size category, for distribution to those professionals who did reference work. The questionnaire enquired about experiences and attitudes toward various technologies and sources for reference work. Six-hundred-and-forty-eight responses gave a response rate of 37,7% for public libraries and 42.9% for academic libraries. Seventy five percent reported their library as currently offering some form of digital reference service. Over 75% had used electronic mail in reference work, and nearly 95% had received formal Internet training.

Those with the most digital reference experience were the most positive about such service. Academic librarians tend to report a decreasing numbers of reference questions, are less likely to have recently answered a question in a digital medium, are more skeptical about digital reference and have more digital experience. Public librarians report receiving more questions, and having done digital searches.












A Database Selection Expert System Based on Reference Librarian's Database Selection Strategy: A Usability and Empirical Evaluation
    Wei Ma
    Published online 6 March 2002

Wei Ma reports on a usability study of the Smart Database Selector, an expert system that permits selection from 146 available electronic databases by a free text statement of keywords, a browse of terms from database controlled vocabularies, or selection from a list of database types. The study evaluates only the first interface. Recall and precision measures were used on all databases, the subset using thesauri, data mined subject terms and librarian assigned categories, and the subset using only librarian assigned categories. Using transaction logs, interviews, and test subject surveys, usage and reactions were also studied. Six library staff and sixteen graduate and undergraduate users were solicited for the test and provided with questions previously received at the reference desk. Of 672 searches 457 retrieved at least one database name and were used to generate recall and precision measures. Recall and precision measures are best when controlled vocabulary terms are available with recall in most cases above 60%. Average precision per question varied from 94% to 10%. Library staff recall rate was significantly above other users. Most subjects were confident in the usefulness of the selector.












Information and Information Sources in Tasks of Varying Complexity
    Katriina Bystrom
    Published online 6 March 2002

Bystrom believes that past research shows that task complexity affects information activities but that the nature of these effects is unclear. During their decision making procedures for 78 tasks, 38 Finnish municipal officials filled in semi-structured task diaries that covered their task performances as to frequency and perceived complexity, as well as their related information activities and sources required for the task. Interactions with both people and documentary material were recorded and evaluated. Tasks, which began with their receipt by the official, and ended when a resolution draft was produced, were categorized in subsequent recorded interviews by their complexity (automatic, normal, and decision). Information types were also assigned to information used in relation to a task. Finally information sources were categorized as people; documentary; and visits, with a sub-grouping as either internal or external to the municipal organization. When information acquisition requires effort, people become more popular sources than documents. The more types of information acquired the more people are used as sources and the greater the use of general purpose sources. Also more total sources are used as are more people internal to the organization and documents external to the organization. Task complexity has a relationship to source use, and types of information relate strongly to types of sources.













Hyperlink-Affiliation Network Structure of Top Web Sites: Examining Affiliates with Hyperlink in Korea
    Han Woo Park, George A. Barnett, and In-Yong Nam
    Published online 18 March 2002

Park, Barnett, and Nam examine the structure of hyperlink affiliations among Korean web sites to determine the role played by a site's credibility in the formation of this structure. They from an n x n binary connectivity matrix S where each node is one of 152 most frequently visited Korean web sites and the strength of association in a cell sij is 1 or 0 based on whether or not a hyperlink exists from i to j. Groups were then identified where each member had at least two external links and more than 50% of its links with other members. Connectedness is defined as the nodes number of links, centrality the mean number of links to reach every other node in the group, integrativeness, the proportion of a nodes links that are connected to one another, indegree, the number of links from other nodes, outdegree, the number of links to other nodes, and density as the actual number of links divided by the possible links, n(n-1)/2. A cluster analysis was also preformed. Financial sites were in central positions, and appeared to be responsible for cluster formation.












Socio-Economic Factors in the Application of Information and Communication Technologies in Nigerian Print Media
    Fabian A. Ehikhamenor
    Published online 20 March 2002

Ehikhamenor attempts to identify the factors that influence the adoption and use of information technology in Nigeria's print media by a survey of 50 print newspapers and magazines. The instrument was hand carried to a top manager, the head of production, and the person in charge of information technology. One hundred and five useable instruments were recovered by personal visit. 85% of respondents have information technology policies in effect and 79% have functional information technology units in place. Of the 54 factors ranked by the participants, the fact that use of such technology was an organizational goal ranked highest, but productivity, image, profitability, openness to change and internal communication were also meaningful factors. The greatest constraints were inflation, exchange rates and an unstable political environment. There are differences in rankings by management and information technology staff. Success in application technology was reported by 46% of respondents, and moderate success by an additional 47%. Once again the establishment of success in the area as an organizational goal was the highest rated factor influencing success. Competitiveness, image and productivity were also considered important, with financial factors providing the main constraints.














The Digital Divide: Facing a Crisis or Creating a Myth? Edited by Benjamin M. Compaine
    Lisa A. Ennis
    Published online 7 March 2002







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