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Title: Search all about it : a mixed methods study into the impact of large-scale newspaper digitisation
Author: Gooding, P. M.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5351 884X
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2014
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Large-scale digitisation has risen to prominence in recent years, with widespread agreement that it is fuelling changes in research opportunities and behaviour. The purpose of this study is to explore the impact of large-scale digitised collections (LSDCs) by studying two exemplar case studies: British Library Nineteenth Century Newspapers and Welsh Newspapers Online. It applies an extensive mixed methods approach to evaluate how research is changing as a result of digitisation. The findings show that LSDCs are already having a positive impact on user experiences, although they are not the disruptive force that many have predicted. Researchers are heavily engaged with digitised collections, using them as part of a hybrid research environment where physical resources still maintain their importance. However, while there are major benefits for researchers in location-independence, time savings and the ability to search unprecedented quantities of historical materials efficiently, underlying research behaviours remain broadly similar. The lack of fundamental change is partly caused by issues with the resources themselves: commercial licenses which limit potential reuse of public domain materials; web interfaces which, by making assumptions about users’ information behaviours, in fact limit these behaviours in fundamental ways; and access restrictions which ensure that the benefits of large-scale digitisation are felt unevenly throughout society. Existing LSDCs can therefore do more to support emergent research activities which are currently theoretically possible but practically difficult. We propose that open licensing, “generous interfaces”, and a willingness to adapt to new user demands should characterise future digitised resources to fully realise their potential. In doing so, this thesis makes a unique contribution to our understanding of large-scale digitisation, and provides important recommendations for maximising their impact.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available