The WebWise conference is a signature initiative of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). Each year it brings together representatives of museums, libraries, archives, systems science, education, and other fields interested in the future of highquality online content for inquiry and learning. The conference highlights recent research and innovations in digital technology, explores their potential impacts on library and museum services, and promotes effective museum and library practices in the digital environment. It also provides recipients of IMLS technology-based grants the opportunity to showcase exemplary projects. The annual WebWise conference was inaugurated in 2000.
At WebWise 2006, innovative approaches to assess the use of digital resources at universities, libraries and museums were explored. Three organizations were invited to discuss the results of their studies.
Monica Gout, Senior Consultant at Creative Good
Monica Gout discussed ways to increase users' ability to successfully find digital resources on Web sites, particularly those of public libraries. Libraries provide online access to their holdings in order to increase literacy. But to be successful, Gout argued, they must find new ways to improve the user experience on their Web sites. Gout also discussed ways to increase consumers' use of and satisfaction with commercial Web sites. Creative Good is a consulting firm that helps businesses improve their users' online experience.
Katherine Skinner and Rohit Chopra, Emory University
Katherine Skinner and Rohit Chopra discussed the MetaScholar Initiative, a digital library resource program at Emory University. In their presentation, Disciplining Search/Searching Disciplines: Perspectives from Academic Communities on Metasearch Quality Indicators, they explained the initiative's goals and assessed its results in both qualitative and quantitative terms. They also addressed the initiative's approach to research using metadata, the academic interest areas of the initiative's users, and the quality of the information users are retrieving. The MetaScholar Initiative is a collaboration among libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions to improve scholarly communication via new technology.
Layna White, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Layna White is Head of Collections Information and Access at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. In her presentation, User Needs for Digital Content: The MOAC II Case Study, White described how the Museums and Online Archives Collaboration (MOAC) aggregates content and conducts user evaluations. She also discussed research instruments for collecting user evaluations. MOAC contains selected works from the permanent collections of eight California museums: Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive, Japanese American National Museum, Oakland Museum of California, Phoebe Hearst Museum of Anthropology, Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley, Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts at UCLA, Fowler Museum of Cultural History at UCLA, and California Museum of Photography at UC Riverside.