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Metasearch Infrastructure: User Needs Assessment Activities

The needs assessment has been designed to help the project designers understand current usage patterns and user needs, discover similarities and differences across a variety of audiences, find out which features users find most valuable, and identify any unmet user needs and/or opportunities for improvement in the current environment.

The Core Collection is a tool that will help undergraduates and those outside their area of expertise search across a few core databases in order to see a broad overview of a topic.  The needs assessment will focus primarily on undergraduates.  Interviews will be conducted at UC Berkeley.

Documenting the American West is a two-year project funded by the Hewlett Foundation to create, design, assemble, and evaluate the use of a large virtual collection of digital materials bearing on the social and ecological diversity of the American West.  The partners on this project are the Library of Congress, Harvard University libraries, Indiana University library, University of Michigan libraries, University of Virginia library, Interactive University, UC Berkeley, UCLA Consortium on Instructional Technology, the University of Washington libraries, and the Colorado Digitalization Project.

The primary audiences for this grant are university faculty and researchers, community college faculty, academic librarians, public librarians, and the K-12 community.  The CDL is responsible for interviews with UC faculty and graduate students, community college faculty, and academic librarians.  The needs assessment will focus on the areas of the humanities and social sciences, but there will also be some science participants.  The Colorado Digital Project [] will be responsible for the needs assessment for public librarians and the K-12 community.

The National Science Digital Library (NSDL) project is funded by a two-year National Science Foundation grant to build on and enhance the NSDL (  The project has two strands: a market research component and the construction of a science portal prototype.  The target audiences are science librarians (at the UC, California State University, community colleges and private universities/colleges), and teachers and librarians for grades 9-12.  Focus group sessions will be conducted in both the north and south.

A consultant has been hired with grant funds to conduct all participant sessions, analyze the results, and create summary reports. CDL staff are responsible for all participant recruitments, and we would appreciate any help in finding participants. If you are interested in participating or have recruitment ideas, please contact Rosalie Lack at

For background information on the Metasearch Infrastructure project, see the project site at:; also see the CDLINFO article from the November 13, 2003 Vol.6 No. 19 issue at: