Meeting Academic Library User Needs

Two Pilot projects at S.I. Newhouse School for Publishing:
1) Pilot project (02/2007-04/2007)
3 months time frame
Interview questions:
Resources and tools
describe typical course assignment for you and student
how do faculty stay current in field
and how do they collaborate outside of school

Data Processing and Analysis:
Will recordings be transcribed?
If not, what doco will be used as found. for analysis?
Group analysis through “co-viewing or co-listening?”
Develop and test protocol early in the process

“You may not know this, but people who teach journalism often suggest that the worst possible thing is to tape it,…”
“I don’t quite understand the process here… having two of you talking to one of me is awfully labor intensive and I don’t know what we’ve gained from it.”
-recommendation for interviewer training.
“I am huge believer in using the library… so much so that I am evangelical about it.”
“Collect a lot of data, see what’s happening elsewhere.” -journalistic research.
“I don’t see it as my place to teach them how to [do research].”

Further questions:
What does research mean to librarians and then to the school?
What does library mean?
Are we talking the same lanaguage?
Is the library “culture” in sync with other academic cultures on campus?

Project 2: Patterns of Culture: Re-aligning library culture to meet user needs.

Add students to mix
Conduct observations in addition to interviews
Appply same ethnological methods to the library (staff and culture)
Distill the data in ways that allow for comparison

Research with human participants:
If your project qualifies as “Research” and involves human subjects, it may be subject to review by an institutional review baord.
-Exempt research?
-Expedited review?

What we learned: before and after:
No training
No testing of instruments
No IRB interview
3 month time frame
little group analysis
little forethought on analysis and documentation


Questions to ask:
Method relev. for research q’s?
Is admin and project team in agreement about goals and outcomes?
Do you have time and reseources?

POSTED ON web site.

How Graduate Students Work on their Dissertations (GRANT at U. of Rochester).

Backgrouns and past satudies
initial findings

Studying Users
New webmaster hired (Xerox PARC researcher) Brought methodogies from there.
Discover real, rather than perceived, needs of users
Hired anthropologist (thru grant funding)
3 phases of study
1st study faculty
2nd study undergrad students
3rd study grad students

Phase 1:
1 year ILMS grant
Study faculty work practices
Focus on digital tools used by faculty in order to
Align institutional repository with the user expectations- easier to change technology than people). create authoring doc mgmt. system.
D-Lib mag, Jan 2005.

Phase 2:
2 year library-funded study
Writing papers black box (that exists between assignment and handing in of a student’s paper)
Holistic view of studetn life, to find info on what’s in the black box
Align services, facilites and web preseence to this black box activity. Students input heavily on re-design of bldg., massive web re-design underway
ACRL book- Studying Students

Phase 3:
2 year IMLS grant
Based on first IMLS study
Holistic view od disseration research and authoring
Align servoces, build tools
Porject in process, finish September 2008.

Nancy Foster:
These methodolgies are appl. to public libs too.

(see slide)

( Examples of data gathered from comm.)

Video: Work Practices, Versioning,

Results of braingstorming: What grad students are doing
getting help from peers via aim email
convert from word to pdf
save old stuff and go back to it
use tech to stay connected
thinking about future careet in terms of preparing portfoilo

plus 90 others!

Brainstorming as a good project development tool.

Prelim findings:
need doc mgmt system
lots of co-authoring with facutly supervisors
overloaded with pdfs paper articles, citations
problems synving documents from on computer ot another
struggling to learn literature in their fields- not confident that they have always found every imp. article.

Autoring tools-
version ctrl
citation mgmt.
Shifting role of the library
Open source product, due Sept. 2008
Changes to library services
need for grad student orientation (profs assume students have these skills already)
better marketing of existing resources
librarian expertise
alert systems, rss feeds
Info about grad students
wrappingup interviews and surveys over next few months
observations conclusions etc will be avail. in spring

Studying Students:

Grad Project