AAS 200th meeting, Albuquerque, NM, June 2002
Session 60. Building a Virtual Observatory
Display, Wednesday, June 5, 2002, 10:00am-7:00pm, SW Exhibit Hall

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[60.09] Engaging Non-traditional User Communities Through NVO Education and Public Outreach

N. Craig (UC Berkeley Space Sciences Laboratory), P. Demorest (UC Berkeley Physics Department), R. Spitz, R. Malina, G. Schultz, I. Hawkins (UC Berkeley Space Sciences Laboratory)

The National Virtual Observatory (NVO) can establish an effective and highly visible Education and Public Outreach (EPO) program that builds upon existing NASA EPO activities. The success of the NVO EPO program will be dependent on identifying potential users and their needs. There are a number of user communities that go beyond the traditional audiences served by NASA and NSF data-driven initiatives. We are exploring how NVO imagery, information, and tools can best engage a variety of non-traditional user communities including SETI@home teachers, educators in teacher preparation programs, and the art and entertainment communities. We are investigating the most appropriate methods of assessing the needs of the various communities, including computer usability labs, focus groups, surveys, interviews, etc. Implementing the results of user requirements research will maximize the likelihood that NVO resources will actually be used and will be of benefit to the largest possible number of people. We will discuss results from a survey of SETI@home educators who were asked to identify the most useful resources that a program such as NVO could provide. In addition, we will present our strategy and plans for assessing the needs of the arts community. This research will inform future prototyping of NVO interfaces for the public at large, and tailored tools such as automated systems on the Web that utilize user-profile defining technology.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 34
© 2002. The American Astronomical Soceity.