Document Type


Journal/Book Title/Conference

Weave: Journal of Library User Experience






University of Michigan Press

Publication Date

Spring 2019


Digital libraries, digital collections, digital archives—just a few of the common terms used to describe the output of large scale digitization efforts. While the term digital library is commonly used by librarians, the term itself reflects the specific disciplinary and technical environments in which the concept for a “digital library” was first imagined. Terminology has been well explored in academic libraries, but questions remain regarding how meaningful digital library and related terms are to the users of digitized archival collections. In 2016, a reverse category test was conducted with target users of Utah State University Libraries’ digital collections to determine what labels users associate with different types of library materials. More than just an issue of semantics, this article explores the critical role that naming plays in how users understand these collections, while offering insight into how to make digitized materials more findable and usable in online environments.



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