Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Audience? User? Reader? Visitor?

Someone, who found the IST677 blog that my students have, asked the following questions. I've asked my students to respond the the questions. I've also liked to hear from you on this:
Are the terms "audience[s]," "user[s]," "reader[s]" and/or "visitor[s]" interchangeable or synonymous when thinking about and evaluating a digital project? And, ramping back a bit, what biases or assumptions with regard to "audiences" (broadly defined) are you and your students bringing to bear in evaluating such [digitization] projects?
The person noted that different types of organizations (e.g., museums) use different words. He wonders if there are inherent differences in these words OR in how we perceive the words?

Please leave comments with your thoughts. ALL thoughts are truly welcome.

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1 comment:

Richard said...


In a few weeks I'll be sitting for my PhD Field Exams in the area of "Use and Users." The list that I've crafted attempts to pull from the tradition LIS literature about "use and users," museum "visitor studies," and research that has looked at users in the archive. (see http://xrl.us/bgzs3).

I think there is more than a difference of words here, there are also different theoretical starting points, units of analysis, and even what the collections being "used" are for.

At the same time there is a fair amount of overlap. Evaluations often come at the problem from different directions, but arriving at the same point (or at least travel on some of the same paths).

I'm not far enough along yet to say I have the answers, but I've also not found anything that neatly ties it all together.

Now..back to my reading...