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Public access interfaces to database resources

Slack, Frances and Rowley, Jennifer (1998) Public access interfaces to database resources. Gower Publishing Ltd. ISBN 9780566080708

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Abstract

Public access systems are destined to become a more and more familiar part of everyone's life and managers responsible for installing them must understand how to set them up correctly if they are to keep their customers satisfied. Whether it's the cash machine, the traveller's information point, information on the Internet or the computerized library catalogue, they must be designed so that what users require from them is easy to ask for and easy to get. This book applies the principles of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) to the design of public access systems, guiding the reader step-by-step through key issues to ensure that the interface between the user, the system and the vast database of information stored within it really works. Focusing specifically on the needs of the wide variety of public rather than office users, particularly within the library and information sector, the book explains how to evaluate the suitability of the interface design (including screen and text presentation, keyboard layout, input devices, online help information), gives checklists for guidance and appraises users and user environments, search strategies and interaction styles. Interactive exercises in each chapter encourage the reader to pose and resolve problems for themselves. Real-life examples and illustrations show why successful systems have worked well and how pitfalls can be avoided. The book explains the relevant technical background in a way which non-technical readers should find accessible and straightforward.

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