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The impact of usage monitoring on the evolution of an online-documentation system: a case study

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3 Author(s)
Girill, T.R. ; Lawrence Livermore Nat. Lab., California Univ., Livermore, CA, USA ; Luk, C.H. ; Norton, S.

An analytical case study is reported in which improvements in the usefulness of online-documentation retrieval and delivery software, as well as design constraints on the software's evolution, arose from extensive usage monitoring. A decade of cumulative, overall usage statistics revealed that increases both in online passage viewing and in on demand document printing accompanied growth in the user community served, with viewing consistently rising faster than printing. Detailed, sequential program-execution transcripts further revealed that most passage-viewing episodes were short, were error-free, accessed a single document, and included a look at the document's keyword index. Two-thirds of the errors that did occur involved a mismatch of available keywords and user search terms. Usage monitoring therefore suggests improvements that stress printing and viewing from a shared database, reference reading online, and iterative search refinement

Published in:

Systems, Man and Cybernetics, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:18 ,  Issue: 2 )

Date of Publication:

Mar/Apr 1988

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