Professional Media Reviews, February 15, 2012

Chowdhury, G.G. & Sudatta Chowdhury. Information Users and Usability in the Digital Age. Neal-Schuman. 2011. c.304p. ISBN 9781555708078. pap. $95. PRO MEDIA

Aiming to fill a need for books on usability written for professionals who design and provide online information services, this is a clear and accessible guide to examining information needs and developing effective user studies to assess online information services. G.G. and Sudatta Chowdhury (information & knowledge management and communication, respectively, Univ. of Technology, Sydney) approach their topic from a library and information science perspective, giving the reader basic skills that can be used to design, conduct, analyze, and apply usability research when developing online information services. They begin with an overview of human information behavior and methods for assessing information needs. They then delve into usability study basics and metrics, selecting participants for various types of studies, and analyzing resulting data. The authors examine web and digital library usability and user research, offering specific models and techniques for these environments. In their discussion of the digital divide, they highlight the rapid development of digital information products and services, noting the shift in focus from development to users. They conclude with a look at issues and trends in usability research. VERDICT Highly recommended for libraries and library professionals providing resources via the Internet.‚ Candice Kail, Columbia Univ. Libs., New York