Keeping track of electronic reading material

Information resources management New Zealand

To help develop a system for people to keep track of their online reading material, this thesis reviewed seven currently available systems.

Abstract: Because reading electronically has become widespread, keeping track of the wide range of material one reads has become a problem. To explore this issue, a user study was conducted concerning how people keep track of the materials they have been reading, are currently reading, and are planning to read. We observed that people use different methods for these three tasks, and that there is a discontinuity in the processing of reading materials. Moreover, people have no effective common strategy for keeping track of what they read. As a result of this study, we derived four requirements for developing a system that helps people keep track of their reading materials.

Instead of developing a completely new system, seven available systems were reviewed to find out which one can be extended and cover the requirements. Two open source software projects were chosen to be analysed more deeply (Zotero and Greenstone). As a result of this analysis, we decided to combine the two software systems to work together. Tracking Reading Material System (TRMS) was developed as a solution for the problem. TRMS combines Greenstone and Zotero software, using Greenstone to store and organise documents, and Zotero to capture the documents and metadata. Four participants used TRMS, and evaluated it over a week's use, and completed a diary. Each participant was interviewed individually pre- and post-use of the TRMS. This data showed that the TRMS was partially successful, but modifications are needed for a more satisfactory user experience.

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