Paul Hagon at Online

Paul Hagon at Online
series online
Image by Tilly Dog Fauxtografix

Paul Hagon
National Library of Australia, Canberra, ACT

Why are many of the entrance points to our online catalogues and collections still a complicated series of search boxes?

We pride ourselves on our databases containing rich structured data, but we continue to use search boxes that produce an ordered list of results as the main entry point to our data. Often users are expected to be familiar with the data structure of the resource they are searching on, or the interfaces require data to be entered in a specific format.

As we freely exchange data via API’s, RSS feeds and links, are we creating an artificial barrier for entry to our collections by persisting with these interfaces and interactions? Are we building the interfaces for ourselves rather than our users? What type of interfaces can we design to break down these barriers and encourage entry into our collections? Could our information be used in different ways?

This presentation covers the findings of an analysis of search data that was used in the redesign of two of the Library’s services: Music Australia and Picture Australia, and how the implementation of these findings has influenced user behaviour on the sites.