During the last twenty years, the digital library domain has exhibited a significant growth aiming to fulfill the diverse information needs of heterogeneous user communities. Digital libraries, either existing as research prototype in a research center or laboratory, or operating in an intense environment enjoying actual usage from end users, have explicitly the need to measure and evaluate their operation. Digital library evaluation is a multifaceted domain aiming to compose the views and perspectives of various agents, such as digital library developers, librarians, curators, information and computer scientists. Several research fields, like information retrieval, human computer interaction, information seeking, user behavior analysis, organization and management of information systems, are contributing to capture, analyze and interpret data into useful suggestions of beneficial value for the information provider and its users.
This half-day tutorial will attempt to conclude the current state of the art on digital libraries evaluation focusing to the following critical questions that project managers, digital library developers and librarians face: the motivations forcing to evaluate, how these motivations are connected to methodologies, techniques and criteria, how effective is one methodology compared to another in relation to the context of operation, what are the appropriate personnel and resources, as well as the organizational and legal requirements for conducting an evaluation experiment and what are the expected derivatives.