Methods Example: User Survey

The Open Video Digital Library Toolkit User Needs Assessment

Purpose: To inform a project to develop a toolkit for museums, archives, specialty libraries, and cultural institutions with moving image collections to more easily organize those collections into web-based digital video libraries, we first sought to better understand the characteristics of organizations' video collections, their technical capacity, and the goals and search preferences of their intended end-users. A survey enabled us to reach a broad audience of potential users possessing a range of characteristics.

Method: A preliminary metadata schema and 20 open- and closed-ended questions were developed and presented as a series of custom-made web-based survey pages. A convenience sample of survey respondents was solicited through 23 electronic discussion lists; a solicitation was also sent to nearly two dozen moving images institutions. As an incentive, two randomly selected participants received a gift certificate. Respondents were also given the opportunity to provide contact information for an optional one-on-one interview.

Results: A total of 83 responses were received from a diversity of types and sizes of institutions. Descriptive statistics were generated to illustrate the range and frequency of collection strategies, collection sizes, content availability, technical proficiency of staff, end-user goals and search methods. In addition, aggregated responses suggested the relative importance of specific elements proposed for the metadata schema, and provided suggestions for elements not previously proposed.

My Role: I led the design, development, implementation, and analysis of the web-based survey, aided by one very capable research assistant.

Related Information

Other Survey Studies

eMicrobes Survey of Healthcare Practitioners in Low-ICT Areas
A web-based survey aimed at gathering data about access to information technology and digital health resources from healthcare workers in developing countries. The data is intended to support the development of a mobile version of the eMicrobes project.