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richer imaginative experiences,
ability to create personal collections and to surface resources in own working or
learning environments,
acceptance as an equal partner; have a "voice" that is heard,
opportunity to criticise and debate issues, resources and services provided by cultural
Accumulated from the DigiCULT online Delphi.
Learning how best to serve their customers will be in particular a demanding process for
institutions that cater to many different user groups or the public in general. Using a birds-
eye view of the market data might provide some insight, but institutions will be well advised:
to look closer into web trends (e.g. booming features like simple to use weblogs)
and what users do when they act as content providers themselves,
to not count too much on what users say they would like to have
(once a services is provided they might have changed their mind),
but on how they use services in effect,
to involve users from the start in assessing new services,
and to use all means on- and off-line to get feedback from users.
Along with the suggestions above, a major recommendation for institutions that do not
serve broad user groups or the general public would be to focus on the key demands of the
key customers of the institution, provide at least the standard service level in their field, and
follow new developments in the field closely.
User needs are "simple"
The checklist of things users expect from the various institutions as archives, libraries, and
museums might not be the same with respect to all entries. But the summary provided by
Charles Oppenheim, Professor of Information Science, Loughborough University, UK, of
what users generally expect, should be kept in mind:
"Users' needs are simple.They want electronic information, delivered to the desktop
wherever they are, even if it is on the move.They want user-friendly search software, and a
single portal to do all their searches from.They want to put in a single ID and password to
access anything and everything.They want current awareness that gives them exactly what
they want and no false drops.They want a choice of titles, abstracts or full text, according to
need.They want to be able to hyperlink from one item to another by clicking once on a
reference button.They don't care who supplies the information to them, or from where,
and they want seamless links between internal information and external information.They
want to be able to annotate or amend the materials they get, and they want the right to
forward it to as many people as they so wish.They are happy enough for the library to set
all of this up for them, but they don't want to have to go through the library or into the
library to get access. And, of course, they want all of this at no cost to themselves or to their
employers. In other words, users are becoming more and more demanding, and less and less
willing to accept statements along the lines that this isn't practicable, or isn't legal. Librarians
historically have sided themselves with users and against producers. However, it they fail to
deliver what users are now demanding, they will be seen by the users as getting in the way
of information access. Furthermore, publishers are indeed keen that libraries shift their
allegiance, and that libraries sere themselves more as the allies of publishers than their
enemies." (Oppenheim, 2000)