Thursday, 9 June 2011

AEIOU First Focus Group meeting

Yesterday we held the first AEIOU Focus Group meeting to demonstrate the Recommendation service, and it was trialled by the Group for the first time. Four of the six core repositories had the service deployed - and the remaining two will be available shortly once some upgrade issues are resolved. The Focus Group searched on a provided list of words and it was fascinating to see the recommendation service start to work - with user activity triggering recommendations across repositories as users moved from one search item to another. There was quite a bit of 'noise' to begin with but gradually the viewed item lists started to become meaningful. An online questionnaire was provided and participants were asked to complete this before leaving the meeting (
Feedback on the testing exercise and the recommendation service was very positive and group discussions led to several useful suggestions on how the service could be improved to provide added value. See below for key suggestions:

  • Identify repository an item is from - should include this in results
  • Views vs downloads - consider weighting, ie. Number of times viewed
  • Number of recommendations. Differences of opinion on this – 5 or 6 seem about right.
  • Location of recommendations on item page - above or below? Maybe useful to have a link at the top of the record to take you to the recommendations at the bottom of the record.
  • Session time - 30 mins? Consensus that this is about right.
  • Added value: Ability to produce reports from aggregated data – per institution/per item/per selection of items –such as for Sconul and SUSHI reporting.
  • Google search (restricted to the 12 repositories) based on the item metadata could be added to suggest ‘similar items’ alongside recommended items.



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