Shechtman, N., Chung, M., & Roschelle, J. (2004, February). Supporting Member Collaboration in the Math Tools Digital Library: A Formative User Study. D-Lib Magazine, 10 (2).
In this paper, we discuss a user study done at the formative stage of development of a Math Tools developers’ community. The Math Tools digital library, which aims to collect software tools to support K-12 and university mathematics instruction, has two synergistic purposes. One is to support federated search and the other is to create a community of practice in which developers and users can work together. While much research has explored the technical problem of federated search, there has been little investigation into how to grow a creative, working community around a digital library. To this end, we surveyed and interviewed members of the Math Tools community in order to elicit concerns and priorities. These data led to rich descriptions of the teachers, developers, and researchers who comprise this community. Insights from these descriptions were then used to inform the creation of a set of metaphors and design principles that the Math Tools team could use in their continuing design work.