Sunday, August 31, 2008

NeoNote: User Centered Design Suggestions for a Global Shared Scholarly Annotation System

NeoNote: User Centered Design Suggestions for a Global Shared Scholarly Annotation System (Abstract)

Brad Hemminger, UNC/CH School of Information and Library Science

Information Seeking Support Systems Workshop / An Invitational Workshop Sponsored by the National Science Foundation / June 26-27 2008 / Chapel Hill, NC USA


Significant changes are occurring to scholarly communications due to technological innovations, primarily the advent of computers and the internet. Compared to thirty years ago, scholars use computers both to do their work and write their papers. They publish in journals still, but the articles are available and accessed more in digital format than in print format. Scholars increasing share their work with others by putting their work on their websites, in institutional repositories, or emailing to others. They use collaborative tools for writing papers, or creating shared content on wikis. Scholars are beginning to compile large digital collections of research papers instead of print collections. They are beginning to annotate these papers electronically, and to share these annotations. They save citation information digitally in citation managers and automatically incorporate this information when writing their papers. They start their searches more often with search engines that traditional library catalog resources, andthey spend most of their time searching for and looking for information in web browsers.

There has been a proliferation of tools developed to help support scholars in performing this myriad of activities, but in most all cases, the tools are designed for only a specific task or environment. As a result, scholars are forced to utilize many different incompatible tools to perform their scholarly work and communication. This paper looks at the problem from the scholar’s perspective and proposes a user interface well suited to scholarly work practices. It also proposes a paradigm for how scholarly annotations could be captured, stored, searched and re‐used on both a global scale, and at the level of an individual research laboratory or group. It is our hope that the paradigms proposed in this paper will provoke discussions in the digital library community about shared global designs for digital library content, including annotations.

As part of a user centered design process to develop a global shared annotation system, information from surveys [Hemminger ASIST 2007], our interviews with scientists at UNC, and feedback from users of scholarly annotation tools were analyzed to generate a list of features scholarly researchers required. Currently, there are no systems designed to provide a single comprehensive system to address all user’s needs. There are, however, many individual applications that provide excellent support for one or more features needed by the scholarly researcher. This paper describes the desired features of a single comprehensive system, gives examples of current tools that support these features, and then describes the architecture of our resulting design.



NeoNote: A User Interface for "Memex" (Duration 8:11)



NeoNote: Suggestions for a Global Shared Scholarly Annotation System / Bradley Hemminger, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill / D-Lib Magazine / May/June 2009 / Volume 15 Number 5/6 / doi:10.1045 /may2009-hemminger


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