Volume 72, Issue 8 p. 995-1010
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Orientation tactics and associated factors in the digital library environment: Comparison between blind and sighted users

Iris Xie

Corresponding Author

Iris Xie

School of Information Studies, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA

Correspondence

Iris Xie, School of Information Studies, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, P.O. Box 413, Milwaukee, WI 53201, USA.

Email: [email protected]

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Rakesh Babu

Rakesh Babu

School of Information Studies, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA

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Hyun Seung Lee

Hyun Seung Lee

School of Information Studies, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA

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Shengang Wang

Shengang Wang

School of Information Studies, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA

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Tae Hee Lee

Tae Hee Lee

School of Information Studies, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA

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First published: 16 March 2021
Citations: 5

Funding information: Institute of Museum and Library Services, Grant/Award Number: LG-70-16-0038-16; University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Grant/Award Number: RGI & DIG

Abstract

This is the first study that compares types of orientation tactics that blind and sighted users applied in their initial interactions with a digital library (DL) and the associated factors. Multiple methods were employed for data collection: questionnaires, think-aloud protocols, and transaction logs. The paper identifies seven types of orientation tactics applied by the two groups of users. While sighted users focused on skimming DL content, blind users concentrated on exploring DL structure. Moreover, the authors discovered 13 types of system, user, and interaction factors that led to the use of orientation tactics. More system factors than user factors affect blind users' tactics in browsing DL structures. The findings of this study support the social model that the sight-centered design of DLs, rather than blind users' disability, prohibits them from effectively interacting with a DL. Simultaneously, the results reveal the limitation of existing interactive information retrieval models that do not take people with disabilities into consideration. DL design implications are discussed based on the identified factors.