As libraries expand their services into the world of federated searching, librarians need to work with users to discover what their expectations are and how the library can customize the software to meet users' expectations. This article describes the user testing performed at Texas A&M University during 2005 as the libraries implemented a new federated search service called Search Now (ExLibris' MetaLib). Over fifty volunteers-including undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, and library faculty and staff-helped to test the new system and offered suggestions for improvements. Problems were noted and, where possible, modifications were made to improve results. These modifications were then tested again. Major issues noted during the usability testing included: user expectations of search performance; information included in and the layout of the search results; availability of advanced search options; and lack of ability to limit by format, scholarly nature of journal, date and full-text availability. Suggestions for further development are also presented. Copyright (c) by The Haworth Press, Inc. All rights reserved.
Internet Reference Services Quarterly
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