Authors: Laura Brown, Alex Humphreys, Matthew Loy, Ron Snyder, Christina Spencer
Abstract: Scholarly books are increasingly being made available in digital form, joining in the print-to-digital transition that scholarly journals began well over a decade ago. Ten years of innovation have produced tremendous benefits for authors and readers of journal literature, and certainly some of this innovation is applicable to the digital migration of monographs. But the long-form scholarly argument presents some very different challenges, and its online migration is still in many ways in its infancy. The platforms that make monographs available to users often offer little in the way of specialized functionality for the different ways that scholars and students use these books. The JSTOR Labs group, an experimental product development team at JSTOR, undertook a user research and design process in order to better understand the wide variety of needs, behaviors, frustrations, and ambitions users bring to the task of reading scholarly books online, and to explore possible new paths to unlocking the value of the long-form argument in a digital environment. This paper is intended to do three things. First, we discuss the kinds of uses that readers have for scholarly books, and the opportunities for improving the usefulness of books for those purposes in a digital environment. These emerged from ethnographic research we carried out with a variety of readers of digital monographs and with a small working group of scholars, publishers, librarians, engineers, data scientists and user experience designers that we convened in partnership with the Columbia University Libraries in late 2016. Second, we discuss the design thinking process that we used to explore the landscape, how the group identified problems to solve, and how together we selected one opportunity ripe for new feature development that the JSTOR Labs team could prototype. Third, we describe the process we used to develop that prototype, and introduce the tool that we built, which we are calling “Topicgraph.”
Brown, L, Humphreys, A, Loy, M, Snyder, R, Spencer, C.
(2017) Reimagining the Digital Monograph: Design Thinking to Build New Tools for Researchers
, A JSTOR Labs Report – DRAFT FOR COMMENT http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/M62G8M