USER PERCEPTION OF THE USABILITY OF BIOMETRIC METHODS IN THE ACADEMIC LIBRARY ENVIRONMENT: A CASE STUDY
The present research is a quasi-experimental study examining the user perception of the usability of application of biometric methods to ensure the security of access to the information systems in an academic library. This research is being conducted at the Medgar Evers College library of the City University of New York. The academic library is an environment very sensitive to the security issues because the latter might be likely to be or perceived to be a phenomenon affecting the intellectual freedom and access to information. Yet, this is a phenomenon that might be absolutely necessary in a variety of environments, including the academic libraries. Oftentimes, an old-fashioned password is used to ensure security of computer networks in the libraries. This might present difficulties to the library faculty and staff, especially when the library has a few different computer networks and a number of full-time and part-time faculty and staff, who besides the regular day hours might also be working at night and on the weekends. In reality, this password model often makes many information resources in electronic format inaccessible to the staff, and subsequently to the library patrons.
Elsewhere at the Medgar Evers College some systems analyst uses the fingerprint analysis to allow him a quick and secure administrator’s access to the information systems that he oversees. The goal of the present research is to study the possibility of adopting similar technologies in the library environment. The biometric methods are not limited to the fingerprint analysis. The present research also considers a theoretical possibly of utilizing the Keystroke Analysis, Signature Analysis, Gait Biometrics, Voice Biometrics, DNA Biometrics, Facial Biometrics, Retinal or Iris Biometrics, Ear Biometrics, or Spirometry.
Convenience sampling procedure will be used for recruiting participants for this case study. The volunteers from among the CEIM Library faculty and staff will be asked to use the Fingerprint Analysis tool for the security purposes related to the information systems in the library. After completing this task the participants will be asked to participate in the survey and evaluate the usability of the fingerprint method application in the academic library setting. This survey will also encompass perception of the participants of the use of a variety of other biometric methods in the academic library. This user perception usability analysis will be based on the Oulanov’s usability schema that is often employed to evaluate the usability of the information systems in academic libraries. This schema is based on the following eight criteria: Affect, Adaptability, Control, Helpfulness, Efficiency, User Effort, Measures of Effectiveness, and Retrieval Features. The issues related to the intellectual freedom and access to information will also be considered. SurveyMonkey tool will be used for the data gathering. Following the data gathering procedure the data will be tabulated and analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistical methods. The focus group will also be conducted with the volunteer participants. The results will indicate the strong and weak points and possible venues for the application of the biometric methods for the security purposes in the information systems in the academic library environment. They will also show the levels of usability of the Fingerprint Analysis used in academic library information systems setting.