Document Type


Publication Date



Digital libraries, Usability, Distributed models, Information seeking behavior, Digital Public Library of America


This article presents the findings of a case study that examined user navigation in a large-scale digital library in the context of academic use. Using the Digital Public Library of America as case, the study explored user navigation and understanding of a distributed model of large-scale digital libraries. The DPLA model involves two- or three-step navigation pathways. Most study participants could navigate the DPLA distributed, multi-layered system effectively. This study found some confusion among the participants when they had to move through a three-step process to locate digital objects provided by a metadata aggregator service hub. The study participants also pointed out the advantages of a distributed model in collocating digital resources and connecting users to a wide range of digital libraries.


This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Web Librarianship on October 18 2017, available online: "".

Publication Statement

Copyright held by the author or publisher. User is responsible for all copyright compliance

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.