Student Feedback on Federated Search Use, Satisfaction, and Web Presence

Sarah C. Williams, Angela Bonnell, Bruce Stoffel


Illinois State University’s Milner Library conducted focus groups in the summer and fall of 2007 as part of its user-centered approach to implementing a federated search engine. The feedback supplemented the comments from usability testing conducted in the summer of 2006. The purpose of the focus groups was to learn about students’ use of and satisfaction with the federated search engine and to gather their ideas on how to incorporate it into the library website. The focus groups provided qualitative information that Milner Library used to guide decisions regarding website design and federated searching instruction. A list of best practices from the user perspective is also drawn from the findings. The unique aspects of this article include the use of focus groups to gather feedback on federated searching and the discussion of incorporating a federated search engine into a library website. This article is based on preliminary findings presented at the Internet Librarian 2007 conference in Monterey, California.

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