User needs in television archive access: Acquiring knowledge necessary for system design

Brian Kirkegaard Lunn

Abstract


This paper presents a methodical approach for generating deep knowledge about users, as a prerequisite for design and construction of digital information access to cultural heritage information objects. We exemplify this methodical approach by reporting on an explorative study of information need characteristics in a television broadcast context. The methodical approach is inspired by naturalistic research, and our main data is nine in-depth interviews conducted with scholars and students within the academic field of Media Studies. The analysis identifies four characteristics. Firstly, broadcasts are needed as objects of analysis in empirical research. Secondly, the needs are related to three broadcast dimensions: 1) Transmission; 2) Archive; and 3) Reception. Thirdly, four fundamental types of information needs are verified in a television broadcast context: 1) Known item; 2) Factual data; 3) Known topic or content; and 4) Muddled topic or content. Fourthly, the interviewees’ needs consist of four phases: 1) Getting an overview of transmitted broadcasts; 2) Identification of borderline exemplars; 3) Selection of specific programmes; and 4) Verification of facts. The present paper presents novel research on characteristics of information needs in a television broadcast context. We demonstrate how one may go about generating knowledge which is imperative for the design and construction of future broadcast retrieval systems.

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