Since the start of the IN Harmony project a series of user studies were developed to inform the design of the metadata model, sheet music cataloging tool and the collection web site. Each of these studies built upon previous studies and were conducted during the various stages of development project development cycle:
We evaluated sample query logs captured by two online sheet music resources, Indiana University Sheet Music Collection and the Sheet Music Consortium, to better understand discovery patterns and nature of queries.
This two-part study was developed as a follow-up to the Query Logs Analysis study. Based on our query logs findings, we wanted to know if users indeed make distinctions between various subject-related searches (topical, genre, etc.), and if so, how do they distinguish between these various searches categorically. We also compared and mapped representative user's natural language queries with terms from various controlled vocabularies that were considered for integration with the sheet music cataloging tool.
In an effort to target the needs of a wider audience, we conducted a content analysis study with a year's worth of reference emails sent to the Indiana University (IU) Lilly Library, which is one of the contributors to the IN Harmony project, and is home to several sheet music collections including the Starr Sheet Music Collection and the Sam DeVincent Collection of American Sheet Music. Many of the sheet music inquiries were from non-IU affiliates who relied mostly on librarians as opposed to search engines for their information needs.
Paper prototypes were created of the IN Harmony web site based on functional requirements that were derived from earlier user studies. The paper prototypes were first presented for group discussion to the project partners. Based on their feedback, the prototypes underwent another round of revision for the formal group walkthrough assessment (akin to a focus group discussion) that was conducted with faculty, graduate students, and librarians from various disciplines and areas of expertise who use sheet music in their teaching, learning, performance or other professional contexts.