|Expanding Access to Science and Technology (UNU, 1994, 462 pages)|
|Note to the reader from the UNU|
|Session 1: Access to science and technology and the information revolution|
|Introduction: Access to science for the benefit of mankind|
|Keynote presentation: the impact of information technology on the access to science|
|2. Diversity of information requirements|
|3. Numeric and factual databases|
|4. Evaluation and quality control|
|5. Traditional access mechanisms|
|6. Electronic access to scientific data|
|7. Data as an international commodity|
|8. The future|
|Session 2a: Experiences with international cooperation and the developing countries|
|A critical evaluation of experiences and strategies|
|2. Patterns of international cooperation|
|3. Selected experiences and strategies|
|4. Difficulties of the developing countries: Partners in international cooperation|
|Session 2b: The technological experience: information resources and networks|
|Databases and data banks|
|2. Some figures and definitions|
|3. Typology of world databases and data banks|
|4. Cooperation among database producers|
|5. Database production|
|6. Use of databases|
|7. Bibliometry applied to STI or scientometry|
|10. Economic problems|
|11. Ownership, legislation, and copyright problems|
|2. The narrow-band ISDN|
|3. Broad-band ISDN|
|4. Concluding remarks|
|The electronic library|
|2. Library automation and the electronic library|
|3. Other examples of the electronic library|
|4. The electronic library of the future|
|Panel discussion 1: Achievements and limitations in international cooperation as seen by the developing countries|
|Session 3: New technologies and media for information retrieval and transfer|
|The potential offered by ''extended retrieval''|
|2. Four information retrieval ''architectures''|
|3. Illustrations of extended retrieval|
|4. Some technical issues|
|Information retrieval: Theory, experiment, and operational systems|
|1. Scientific communication and information retrieval|
|2. Anomalous states of knowledge|
|4. Early experiments in IR|
|6. Boolean logic, search strategy, and intermediaries|
|7. Associative methods|
|8. Probabilistic models|
|9. Information-seeking behaviour|
|Computerized front-ends in retrieval systems|
|1. Introduction: The information environment|
|2. Definition of front-ends in retrieval systems|
|3. Taxonomy of front-ends|
|4. Examples of front-ends|
|5. Evaluation of front-ends|
|6. Directions for research and development|
|7. Conclusion: Implications for developing countries|
|Multimedia technology: A design challenge|
|2. What are communication media and how do they differ?|
|3. Are human beings aware of the capabilities of different media?|
|4. What can the technology do now?|
|5. User centred or design centred?|
|6. The PROMISE multimedia interface project|
|7. How does one design a multimedia interface?|
|8. Some initial guidelines|
|Session 4: Intelligent access to information: Part 1|
|Simulated man-machine systems as computer-aided information transfer and self-learning tools|
|2. Human interaction with integrated automation in man-machine systems|
|3. Knowledge-based information access by means of simulation and self-learning tools|
|4. Needs for future research and socio-technical development|
|Human-centred design of information systems|
|2. Human-centred design|
|4. Lessons learned|
|Designing interactive systems based on cognitive theories of human information processing|
|1. Hypermedia systems|
|2. User-oriented and task-driven system design|
|3. SEPIA: A cooperative hypermedia authoring environment|
|Personal hypermedia systems|
|2. What is hypermedia?|
|3. Hypermedia products|
|3. How useful is hypermedia for business people?|
|4. Executive information systems|
|Session 4 : Intelligent access to information: Part 2|
|1. A brief history of machine translation|
|2. System configurations|
|3. Ability of current machine translation systems|
|4. Introduction and use of machine translation|
|5. Evaluation factors of machine translation systems|
|6. Japanese machine translation systems|
|7. Japanese governmental efforts|
|9. State of the art in Europe and the United States|
|10. The international association for machine translation|
|11. The future of MT|
|The new world of computing: The sub-language paradigm|
|2. Obstacles to the development of the telephone-computer|
|3. Sub-language: a new paradigm|
|4. The implementation of sub-languages|
|5. The creation and basing of sub-languages|
|6. Networking in the telephone-computer era|
|7. All of the world's information|
|8. The new world of computing applications development environment|
|9. Toward an efficient organization of the software and data provider industry|
|10. The vision and the realization|
|Real-world computing and flexible information access: MITI's new programme|
|3. The concept of real-world computing|
|4. Outline of RWC programme|
|5. Theoretical foundation|
|6. Novel functions for application|
|7. Computational bases|
|8. Research organization and plan|
|Session 5: From new technologies to new modalities of cooperation|
|Systems management for information technology development|
|2. A gateway strategy for information technology developments|
|3. Knowledge facets for systems integration and information technology development|
|4. A newness matrix approach to information technology development|
|5. Phased life cycles for system acquisition|
|6. Evaluation of technologies|
|7. Information technology perspectives|
|A role for the UNU/IIST: Developing countries' access to new information technologies|
|1. Part 1: UNU/IIST|
|2. Part 2: Advanced applications|
|3. Part 3: Advanced technologies|
|The potential of information technologies for international cooperation|
|1. The new technologies|
|2. Information and knowledge|
|3. Activities of some international bodies in information technologies cooperation|
|4. Educational strategies|
|5. Developing countries|
|6. Negative tendencies and illusions|
|Panel discussion 2: Towards new modalities of international cooperation|
|Other titles of interest|
The types of problems noted earlier can be avoided, and the potential of enabling information technologies can be realized, by adopting a human-centred approach to designing information systems. Human-centred design is a process of assuring that the concerns, values, and perceptions of all stakeholders in a design effort are considered and balanced [X].
Stakeholders include users, customers, maintainers, investors, and so on. Further, the designers of information systems are stakeholders in these systems. While this paper necessarily focuses on users, were we to discuss the design, development, implementation, and servicing of an actual information system, we would consider all of the stakeholders.
Human-centred design can be viewed as a process for addressing and resolving the seven issues listed in figure 1. Four of these issues (i.e., evaluation, demonstration, verification, and testing) are well known to designers of information systems and are usually addressed in a reasonable manner. These four issues are not discussed within the confines of this paper. Interested readers will find a comprehensive treatment of these issues in Rouse .
The top three issues in the figure (i.e., viability, acceptability, and validity) are seldom addressed with sufficient rigour by designers of information systems. Human-centred design involves pursuing all of the issues in figure 1, starting at the top. Thus, the first question asked is "What matters?" while the last question asked is "Does it run?"
Rouse  discusses a four-phase methodology, as well as associated methods and tools, for pursuing the seven issues in figure 1. In this paper, discussion focuses on elaborating the nature of viability, acceptability, and validity. The use of these constructs is subsequently illustrated in the context of a few applications.
Viability is concerned with benefits and costs. Contrary to the apparent beliefs of many designers of information systems, the primary benefits to users seldom include having the opportunity to use an information system. Users typically use an information system to make better-informed decisions, solve problems, order products and services, save time, and so on.
Costs may include access charges; however, such costs are often paid by third parties. For most users, costs include the difficulty and time involved in learning to use and in using the system, as well as the difficulty and time associated with using the outputs of the system. Thus, for example, one of the costs of using conventional computer-based information retrieval systems is the difficulty and time of wading through the hundreds or thousands of abstracts obtained, as well as locating and obtaining source documents.
Viability® Are the Benefits of System Use Sufficiently Greater than its Costs?
Acceptability® Do Organizations/lndividuals Use the System?
Validity ® Does the System Solve the Problem?
Evaluation ® Does the System Meet Requirements?
Demonstration ® How Do Observers React to System?
Verification ® Is the System Put Together as Planned?
Testing ® Does the System Run, Compute, Etc.?
Figure 1 Human-centred design issues
Acceptability concerns the extent to which a way of doing things fits in with individual and organizational preferences and constraints. For instance, the hardware and software of an information system should be compatible with other hardware and software employed by users and their organizations. A more subtle need is for usage procedures for the information system to be compatible with usage procedures for other systems used by the same set of users. An example of preference-related acceptability concerns would-be users' desires for colourgraphic displays despite the fact that monochromatic alphanumeric displays would be less expensive and provide a valid means to meeting information needs.
Validity focuses on whether or not an information system solves the users' information-seeking problems. It is quite possible for a system to meet requirements - that is, pass evaluation with flying colours - but not provide valid support. For example, an information system might rapidly retrieve and display masses of information, much of which is irrelevant, the remainder of which is only marginally understandable by the class of users for which the system was designed. While one could blame this on the quality of the databases and argue that the information system satisfies its technical requirements, it is nevertheless a fact that the system does not provide a valid solution to users' problems. One might attempt to resolve this problem by adding artificially intelligent functionality that reads and translates all of the information retrieved to assure that what users get is relevant and understandable. This would not necessarily lessen validity problems if users were skeptical of the computer's ability to perform such filtering and translation.
Note that the discussions of human-centred design in this section have only paid passing attention to display formats? dialogue structures, and so on. While these issues are important, they are nor synonymous with the user-system interface within the human-centred design framework. Within this framework, the interface is "deeper" than the displays and keyboard. The interface includes all functionality whose goals are to enhance human abilities, overcome human limitations, and foster user acceptance .
Therefore, within human-centred design, one does not design an information system and then "add" a user-system interface. Instead, one begins with the user in terms of benefits, costs, etc., and progressively deepens the design. At some point, one translates the means to providing benefits into particular enabling technologies. Typically, the design of displays and input devices naturally evolves in this progression. In this way, human-centred design not only results in systems that are usable- it also produces systems that are useful.