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Colloquium - Khoo

Communicative Dimensions in the Meta-Design of the Digital Water Education Library
National Science Digital Library

Theories of meta-design model the involvement of representatives of user communities in the design of the technological artifacts that they will use. These representatives can be seen as "user-developers," who mediate between the worlds of developers and users, in order to inform the development of artifacts better suited to user needs. Implicit in the meta-design model is a model of communication that assumes that it is relatively easy for the developers, user-developers, and users to talk amongst each other.

My presentation will introduce results from ongoing research with a user-centered digital library design project, the Digital Water Education Library, that suggest that such communication is not always so straightforward. At the beginning of the project, DWEL's developers and user-developers embraced significantly different understandings of digital libraries, differences that were tacit and ontological in nature. At the same time, DWEL's developers and users did not realise that they were embracing these differences, and assumed that they were in agreement. My presentation will describe how the differences between developers and user-developers were identified, how these differences were subsequently addressed, and the positive effect that these changes had upon the project.

Sponsored by the Center for Lifelong Learning & Design.

Department of Computer Science
University of Colorado Boulder
Boulder, CO 80309-0430 USA
May 5, 2012 (14:13)