Research Article: “Don’t Make Me Type: A Study of Students’ Perceptions of Library Catalogues on Tablet Computers”
The following full text article appears in Partnership: The Canadian Journal of Library and Information Practice and Research.
Don’t Make Me Type: A Study of Students’ Perceptions of Library Catalogues on Tablet Computers
Erik Gordon Christiansen
University of Alberta
Partnership: The Canadian Journal of Library and Information Practice and Research
Vol. 10, No. 1
The objective of this mixed methods pilot study was to ascertain university students’ perceptions of online library catalogues using tablet computers, to determine how the participants used tablets and whether or not the NEOS consortium catalogue (NEOS) played an important role in the participants’ academic research. The researcher recruited four students from the University of Alberta who were each asked to use NEOS to complete a series of simple timed usability tasks on a tablet computer of their choosing. The participants also answered a variety of semi-structured interview questions regarding their tablet usage, internet browsing habits, device preferences, general impressions of NEOS, and whether they were receptive to the idea of a mobile NEOS application. Overall, the students found the functionality and design of NEOS to be adequate. Typing, authentication, and scrolling through lists presented consistent usability problems while on a tablet. Only one participant was receptive to the idea of a NEOS application, while the other three participants said tablets were not conducive to conducting academic research and that they preferred using a web interface on a laptop or desktop computer instead.
About Gary Price
Gary Price (email@example.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com.