Traditionally, staff at libraries, archives, and museums (LAMs) create metadata for the content they manage. However, social metadata—content contributed by users—is evolving as a way to both augment and recontexutalize the content and metadata created by LAMs. Usercontributed content can enrich existing metadata and can be integrated with or separated from the content of LAM sites. Enriching LAM metadata improves the quality and relevancy of users’ search results and helps people to understand and to evaluate the content.
The activity the researcher is performing in this situation is called conducting a usability test: a test to find out what difficulties people run into when they are trying to use a (newly designed) product. During the usability test and in inter views or analyses afterwards, the researcher will try to figure out why the user experienced a given difficulty and what product characteristics contributed to that. Once the problem is understood, a designer can attempt to redesign the product’s characteristics so that the chance of future users running into the same difficulty is minimized.