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A User Needs Assessment of a Cultural Heritage PortalL The Singapore Infopedia

A User Needs Assessment of a Cultural Heritage PortalL The Singapore Infopedia
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Author(s): Chu Keong Lee (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore) and Bonny Tan (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore)
Copyright: 2006
Pages: 3
Source title: Emerging Trends and Challenges in Information Technology Management
Source Editor(s): Mehdi Khosrow-Pour, D.B.A. (Information Resources Management Association, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-019-6.ch253
ISBN13: 9781616921286
EISBN13: 9781466665361


For cultural heritage institutions, e.g. museums, archives, and libraries, portals and digital libraries have become an important means of giving access to rare and vulnerable materials such as fragile documents. However, the cost of developing and maintaining a cultural heritage portal remains exorbitant, and it includes the costs of the design and development of the platform, of the digitization of printed materials, and of the format refreshment, preservation, and storage of the digital resources. Although these processes are costly, they are critical if the cultural heritage portal is to be viable in the long run. In addition, the design and contents of the portal are also crucial if they are to attract the number of users that they so deserve. Digital products should meet actual user needs in a user-friendly format. Unfortunately, in the case of cultural heritage portals, actual user needs are frequently ignored. An example of this can be found in the study of seven non-profit cultural and heritage organizations in Canada by Wall (2003), which found that many of the institutions had only a cursory understanding of their user’s needs and demands. Wall attributed this to the absence of an automatic “market-driven” mechanism to link service providers and users. For non-profit cultural institutions, the user needs assessment serves as the link between them and their users.

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