LSC 555 Blog Post #3

Reflections on Zhang et al. (2005) and Cervone (2007)

Finding the balance and the link between advance technology systems and the people who use these systems may rest with librarians. In a recent meeting, I met librarians who spoke about multilingualism, as it relates to speaking to different parts of an organization who come from different perspectives. It meant that the librarian had to know how to speak to and about the needs of the user, the vendor (and subsequently the attorneys and contract offers), and the information technology specialists.

Zhang et. al. bring to the forefront this missing link between human computer interaction (HCI) and information systems development (ISD). For their part, Cervone provides a bird’s eye view walk through of the ISD process and its many moving parts.

Zhang concludes that HCI principles should be integrated within the analysis, design, and implementation phase of systems development. Somewhere along the line of ISD advances and engineering, the human component was diminished. This general observation shares commonality with workplace automation and the overall growth of white collar jobs. “Human Resources” somewhere along the line became more about forms and protocol and little about how the “resource” could successfully function within the the HR system. Kinda like this:

Much like the “multilinguists” example given above, Cervone introduces their article by highlighting that there are several people, with different priorities, who get involved in the ISD process. Understandably, Cervone speaks in broad, generalized terms. However, it would be helpful to have an example of the types of systems that are developed using this process. Perhaps the transition from a commercial Integrated Library System (ILS) to an open source ILS; this seems to be the appropriate scale for such a plan.

The closest I’ve come to working on such a development project is turning over our library student employee’s clock in/out system from an MS Access database to a web-based database that was built by our electronic resources librarian. While we didn’t go through all the formalities listed in Cervone’s article, we did have to come up with a plan for development, piloting, and rollout.

Lastly, Cervone’s article has a wonderful selling point and will surely be helpful in the fall when I take Information Architecture

For librarians that do not have a formal system development background, this article provides a concise and to-the-point overview of the various stages of the system development lifecycle and the relationship of each phase to the development of a digital library system.

Cervone, H. F. (2007). The system development life cycle and digital library development. OCLC Systems & Services, 23, 348 – 352.

Zhang et al. (2005). Integrating Human Computer Interaction Development into the Systems Development Life Cycle: A methodology. Communications of the Association for Information Systems, 15, 512-543.

This blog post fulfills an assignment for a library school course and includes readings related to information systems.