September 9, 2021
Carolyn served as Project Manager on the Field Book Project (2010-2013) and as Program Manager for the Biodiversity Heritage Library (2013-2019). During her time with BHL, she did extensive research into BHL user needs. She worked closely with National Digital Stewardship Resident, Pamela McClanahan and the User Needs Analysis project for the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL). Carolyn is currently a Senior Information Technology Project Manager at The Nature Conservancy.
It is important to note that the study was done before full-text search (which addressed a lot of what people were looking for with BHL Search)
People were looking for specific articles. Full-text search helped address this but still a lot more work to do. Additionally, users wanted:
More fuzzy matching for misspellings etc.
More faceting and refining
Some open-ended/anecdotal suggestions -- look at the data for these
Personas, user stories were not part of the project but there was some classification of them.
The final wrap-up of this work consisted of the BHL Tech Team meeting-up to identify top priorities from the NSDR reports. (2018)
Martin also used to put together one-pager of top technical priorities that drew on the work.
The User Needs Analysis did help to prioritize and focus efforts on:
full text search (deployed 2018/2019)
functionality to import transcriptions (they decided to import them rather than build out a crowd-sourcing tool because a community management role is needed for the latter and there was no capacity or funding for such a role)
End-users were broken down a bit more in the survey (you can see those in the report)
Biggest opportunities are around normalizing named entities / URIs for authors names
Geo names (a lot of research is geographically based)
Geo names extraction (there was a 10 week project from University of Leeds looking to do just this)
Collections managers are really interested in attribution for collectors and the specimens that are cited in the research. They want to be able to track use of these specimens across the scholarly corpus.
These statistics would justify funding by showing the use of the collections (see: Andy Bently @ University of Kansas, organized an attribution workshop)
Users would definitely be interested in the results of crowdsourcing but there was lukewarm interest from users in participating in a MyBHL
There are a lot of considerations around a feature like this. Requires a lot of resources and dedication to staff to manage the community.
There is a definite need to continue this work; this past year (with the pandemic) has caused digital expectations of BHL as a platform to rise.
Yes (note: BHL has never had a UX Designer/Researcher – this has been an enduring capacity gap)
Figure out how we can help people do research in light of climate change. What are the new big research questions?
People are doing more in-depth research during this time, people are developing new areas of expertise, the more that can be done with geographic references over time – would be really useful
Other collections combined with BHL might help answer key questions
Investigate BHL’s role in the Wikidata community in terms of shaping the data model that drives biodiversity research.