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This page consists of links to working papers and a brief overview of the social science team projects that we have been working on as the social science team for the NSF/ ARPA/ NASA Digital Library Initiative project being conducted at the University of Illinois.
Our subgroup of the Illinois Digital Library Initiative (DLI), the Social Science Team, has a mandate to study potential and actual use of prototype systems that other subgroups of the DLI build. In addition, we study the web more generally, and how the work of engineers and other scientist will be impacted by and will impact the growth of the information infrastructure.
Our Social Science Team has articulated, from the beginning, a commitment to a three way relationship between users, designers and social scientists, following in a general way the principals of participatory design. We are especially concerned with trying to fit our formative evaluation work to the ideal of this method: close contact and communication between designers and users via a series of mutually generated, iterative prototypes. To this end, we have conducted usability studies with the emergent testbed; observations of current users of electronic systems in the traditional library and beyond; focus groups, interviews and observations with faculty and staff who are potential users; and as use of the testbed continues to grow, transaction log analyses. One of our major concerns is finding a means to fit these all together.
Members of the team include: Ann Bishop, primary investigator; Leigh Star, investigator; Emily Ignacio, graduate assistant; Laura Neumann, graduate assistant; Cecelia Merkel, a graduate assistant; Bob Sandusky, graduate assistant; and Eric Larson, graduate assistant.