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Abstract

Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR) is a new conceptual model for representing the bibliographic universe with a strong user focus. Such a user focus offers opportunities for creating online catalogs that better support user information seeking. There have been a few online catalogs developed to explore effective implementations of FRBR. However, there has been a lack of user research of such prototype online catalogs. The major purpose of this study is to explore how well current FRBR-based catalogs support user tasks as defined by FRBR and how users interact with and evaluate the user interfaces in the FRBR-based catalogs. The FRBR-based online catalogs selected in this study include OCLC WorldCat.org, FictionFinder, and Libraries Australias FRBR prototype demonstration system. These three catalogs were evaluated by 75 users from both public libraries (40 participants) and academic libraries (35 participants). The user tasks for this study were designed around the four general user task categories as defined by FRBR. Users system interactions and feedback were captured through a multi-method approach, including screen captures, eye-tracking, think-aloud protocol, and survey interviews, as well as two focus groups of academic and public library users. Some preliminary findings show that there were noted differences in user success in completing various tasks in the FRBR-based catalogs. In terms of user interactions with the interface features provided in the catalogs, users chose different options for various tasks. The eye-tracking data and user input on interface features provided some helpful explanations to the user interactions and pointed to useful features and possible improvements of the individual catalog interfaces. The results of this study will help identify useful interface options for future FRBR implementation and contribute toward the development of more effective online catalogs that support various user tasks from users perspectives.