School of Information Sciences

Digital Libraries Colloquium Series

Sponsored by the School of Computer Science-Carnegie Mellon University, the School of Information Sciences-University of Pittsburgh, the University Library System-University of Pittsburgh, the University Libraries-Carnegie Mellon University and the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

Lewis Lancaster

Professor Emeritus, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures
Director, Electronic Cultural Atlas Initiative, International and Area Studies, University of California, Berkeley

Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Talk: 12:00 noon - 1:00 pm in room 501, IS Building

"Support for the Learner: Digital Reference to What, Where, When, Who"

Abstract: The digital library development has been dominated by the need to input content and to catalogue that content.  Another important function of the library has been marginalized thus far in the construction of digital libraries.  That function is the one that has been managed by the Reference Room.  Admirably suited to the codex environment, the Reference Room has yet to find its place in the new technology.  The strategies that have been developed over time for the codex are not always applicable for the digital library.  In the digital world, there is no need for a set of reference works that are merely pointing toward data that is housed in other published works. It should be possible for the new referencing to operate directly within the data itself.  The Electronic Cultural Atlas Initiative (ECAI) with support from the Luce Foundation and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, has been creating a search approach based on the four “Ws…i.e. Where, When, Who, What.”  These simple entry vocabulary words should allow users to access directly a variety of resources that address all four “Ws.”  In researching this issues, ECAI has dealt with the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), construction of digital gazetteers with historical place names and heritage typology, creating standards for biographical data as well as methods for looking at the network of relationships between individuals, automatic search for named time periods appearing in material that does not use calendar numerals, and metadata for events.  A first attempt at searching through the use of the four "Ws" will be demonstrated along with a description of the complexities of the processes that go directly to data sources, complexity that can be seen in the attributed tables that lie behind the searches.

After a brief introduction of the research questions and methodology, Fei will explain why and how the research findings provide library professionals greater understanding of how users perceive their library use and how user satisfaction is formed and influenced. She will also elaborate what practical advice this study provides librarians in terms of what else they can or should do to improve library use. For instance, it is important to recognize users’ emotional experience in their library use because it determines their subsequent library use behavior and service use loyalty.
At the end of this presentation, Fei will introduce her current work on usability testing in the eiNetwork, a practical application of her dissertation research.

Bio: Professor Lewis Lancaster served on the faculty of the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of California for 33 years.  He held a Distinguished Professor Chair and served the university in a number of capacities: chairman of the department, director of the Center for Korean Studies, director of the Group in Buddhist Studies Doctoral Program, chair of the Academic Senate Teaching Committee, faculty adviser to the Library.  He is continuing his directorship of the Electronic Cultural Atlas Initiative (ECAI) in the International and Area Studies division of the university.  After retiring from Berkeley, he held the post of president at the University of the West until 2006.  His external service has included: member of the Executive Commitee of the American Academy of Religions, chair of the Committee on Electronic Resource for the Association of Asian Studies, chair of the Advisory Committee of the Asian Digital Heritage Exchange Forum, member of the Executive Committee of the Pacific Neighborhood Consortium.  He has been part of workshops at the Alexandria Library in Egypt, CNR in Rome, and Academia Sinica, Taiwan. In 2004, he made a report of the ECAI vision to the staff members at the Library of Congress.  Regarding the digital information sphere, he has been instrumental in the input of the Chinese Buddhist Canon, the Pali Canon of Thailand, and Buddhist Sanskrit documents.  The products of these ventures are now on the internet for free use.  ECAI holds two conferences each year under his direction.  These meetings have been, or will be, held in Shanghai, Seoul, Osaka, London, Moscow. Santiago, and Sydney.  When the new East Asian Library building on the Berkeley campus is opened in October, 2007, ECAI and PNC will sponsor one of the major portions of the conference part of that celebration.


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