Finding Roots, Gems, and Inspiration: Understanding Ultimate Use of Digital Materials



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The University of Houston Digital Library (UHDL) is the point of virtual access for digitized cultural, historical and research materials for the university’s libraries. UHDL developed a "digital cart” system (DCS) that allow users to download high resolution images from its collections. The DCS records important information supplied by the user regarding the ultimate use of the downloaded images. Until now, no formal analysis of the transaction log for the DCS has been completed. This research is significant because little is known about the ultimate use of digital library materials. Current literature suggests that this problem is not uncommon among digital libraries around the world. Our analysis begins to fill a critical gap in the professional conversation on digital libraries by directly contributing to the small body of literature that is asking who uses digital libraries and for what purposes. This presentation will outline how researchers analyzed data from portions of the transaction logs from the DCS from 2010 to 2013. From this analysis, they will highlight some of the interesting and innovative ultimate uses by patrons. The researchers will discuss the study and offer audience members approaches for analyzing data to determine ultimate use and its ramifications inside and outside of the classroom.


This presentation was given at the Texas Conference on Digital Libraries 2014, Austin, TX, April 28, 2014.


digital libraries, reuse, assessment, Digital libraries, Reuse, Assessments