Presenter: John Law
Started by doing observational research — 70+ sessions across 8 universities and 2 continents. Their observations led them to online focus groups with end-user researchers, which they followed up with conventional focus group sessions with librarians. They also used online surveys to quantify data about these groups and their behaviors, getting participants from Facebook advertisements.*
Law shares snippets of a video of a student attempting to find resources on an interdisciplinary topic, starting at the library. The user quickly is frustrated by the library’s tools for indexing content sources (not content), and ends up spending a lot of time on dead-end Google searches.
The difficulty is knowing where to look for content (not bibliographic data) on a library website. Users view the library’s gateway role as being in decline, no matter how much we think the library as portal/content source is increasing in value. There is a definite gap between perception and reality, aided in part by the difficulty in presenting relevant & timely content to our users in a way that they will find it (not in the way we think they should find it).
Summon is intended to be a "webscale discovery" solution for libraries. Law has a snippet of video of a student using Summon, and (surprise surprise) he gets to relevant information quickly, using the tools to narrow the search results.
*This means that savvy users who have installed ad-blocking programs on their browsers were not involved in the survey.
Presenter: Krista Godfrey
First-year students have a lot of things coming at them all at once, and research is not high on their list. There are differences between high school and university library experiences: increased number of (overwhelming) resources, subject expertise of librarians, and they’re not always used to finding materials on their own. Faculty & librarians both have noticed that there are more students who do not come with university level research experience.
Godfrey’s university doesn’t have a first year experience course, so she needed to approach the problem in different ways. Workshops and orientations are often not scheduled at a time when the students are thinking about doing research. So, they’re using technology to time-shift it.
18-21 year-olds are the highest YouTube demographic, so it makes sense to reach out to them in that way. Godfrey’s group made a series of videos under a minute each using humorous internet memes, focusing on resources they needed to know about (self-checkout, laptops, reserves, etc.).
For the social network side of things, they looked at Facebook, but it didn’t seem to be the right place for it. However, the local social network on campus has been a more successful venue, in part because Godfrey was invited to be a part of it. Keep a line between the social and the professional, and only present the professional in these spaces.
The first year experience wiki had potential, but it isn’t promoted enough, and it’s not really a wiki (open & collaborative). She’s looking to open it up and create a forum for asking research questions instead of just being a FAQ.
Most students aren’t on Twitter, and they’re frequently tired of hearing about it. Your library account might get followers, but are they your students?
Not everything is going to work. Know what your students use and how they like to get information.