Results of 2005 IRSA User Survey
During the month of August, 2005, IRSA posted its first-ever open questionnaire to gauge the thoughts and opinions of its user base. The survey was also used to study the demographics of our users and to determine how our users learned about IRSA services. Results posted below are from 212 total respondents.
Respondents described themselves as follows:
|2%||Casual web surfer|
Most users found out about IRSA's services through mission websites (58%), through other archives (11%), or via word of mouth (13%). Others discovered IRSA through search engines (7%), astronomical meetings (4%), or other means (7%).
Respondents were asked to rate the value of various services provided by IRSA. Each service had at least a few respondents stating that it was among the most useful and powerful that IRSA provides, but the most popular were the 2MASS All-Sky Image Services (chosen by 62%) and Gator (46%). Services chosen less frequently tended to be either newer services which respondents likely had little familiarity with (such as Cutouts) or services which clearly need revamping (such as RADAR) given responses received in the essay portions of the questionnaire.
Essay questions asked for user opinions on a variety of topics: Are there other services IRSA should provide? Are there current services you find lacking? Are there other data sets you'd like to see served through IRSA?
Comments to these questions are grouped broadly below into three groups — suggestions on requested new services, on service changes, and on service upgrades. These responses are very valuable to the proper growth and continued usability of IRSA and are helping guide our future development efforts. Given here is a summary list of those responses, with more frequent ones placed higher in the lists:
- New services:
- Mosaicking (especially 2MASS) images on both small and large scales.
- More interoperability with other data sets and archives:
- DENIS images/catalogs
- DPOSS images/catalogs
- spectral catalogs (SDSS, 6dFGS, IRAS LRS)
- Cross-identifying data sets housed at IRSA.
- Access to all Spitzer data sets, not just Legacy.
- Provide full access to all ISO data.
- Build a non-java OASIS.
- SED service.
- Changes to services:
- Simplifying/expanding table upload; improving documentation.
- Removing e-mail response from Gator.
- Saving favorite parameters for a user's previous session(s).
- Include intro "sales pitch" for each IRSA service.
- Simplify RADAR; have it grab data, not just provide links.
- Upgrading of current services:
- Upgrading SCANPI/HIRES services and documentation.
IRSA would like to thank those users who responded to our questionnaire. Results are very much appreciated, as we'd like to serve you astronomical data sets using the best services possible. If any of you have additional comments you'd like to provide, you needn't wait until the next such survey. Please drop us a line through the IRSA Help Desk any time.
On behalf of the entire IRSA team,
G. Bruce Berriman, IRSA Task Lead
J. Davy Kirkpatrick, IRSA Project Scientist