Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Note that the highest priority item we will be addressing is the linking infrastructure (including the "Find it@UVM" button, ensuring that LinkSource is working optimally, and re-designing the "no results" page that patrons land on when LinkSource does not locate the full text of an article.) We will not be changing these things in the middle of the semester, however. We will work on fixes during the fall, and implement changes over the winter break.
We will be making changes soon to the Order on Demand ("Get This Book!") interface, however. The changes we are considering should make the service more transparent to patrons without being overly jarring.
A separate analysis of the Order on Demand pilot will go forward later this fall, unrelated to the D&D usability testing, to examine broader implications of the experiment on the collection, and the overall desirability of continuing the pilot (or not), modifying it, etc.
Also, a separate usability test will be administered relatively soon on the pilot study of linking out from the catalog to additional information in Google Books. The current report on usability predated the implementation of the Google Books experiment, so a similar sub-committee of D&D will be designing and implementing that testing this semester. (On a related note, we collected 96 completed surveys on the Google Books links [that is, those who responded who had linked out to Google Books], with 93% of respondents reporting that they agreed [42%] or strongly agreed [51%] with the statement "Google Books provided useful information about the book I was looking at.")
Overall, we found both disappointing and heartening results in this round of testing. We view even the disappointing results to be really valuable, though, because we now have tangible data to help us steer toward better technological and design solutions. One of our wider aspirations as a committee is to encourage a climate of testing in the libraries with the idea that, try as we might, we cannot fully anticipate how patrons will actually use the things we create for them, and usability testing is an ongoing way to improve the patron's experience with the libraries' points of access.
--Peter Spitzform for D&D
Monday, September 22, 2008
The last time that I wrote a research paper the big news at the library was that the card catalog had been computerized. Recognizing that there have been many changes since then I was feeling a little unsure of my library skills. As a library staff member I realized that it was high time for me to get smart on how to use the library.
Each morning, I walk through the front doors and I pass by a poster that states, quite simply, “Ask.” Next I pass the newly relocated Reference Desk where a librarian gives me a friendly nod. I realize that the answer to my uncertainty is right in front of me—all I need to do is stop and “ask.” I explain my situation to Laurie Kutner who informs me that I can request an individual consultation and that I can do so online. That afternoon I complete the online form for a consultation. Within hours I receive a response from Pat Mardeusz that my request has been forwarded to the science librarian Elizabeth Berman. Elizabeth makes an appointment with me and suddenly I have another reason to look forward to Friday!
Elizabeth had done some preliminary searches prior to our meeting and was able to recommend three databases from which I could search my topic: Health & Wellness Research Center, Pub Med and Psych Info. She demonstrated how to access these databases from the library website and offered me some tips on searching—using different combinations of terms and keeping track of what combinations I had used. Psych Info actually shows the user the query that it built. It does a smart search and adds terms/descriptors to expand the search.
I realize that with all of these resources available on-line that I need not be physically seated in the library to do my research—thanks to EZProxy!
Things have changed since my last research paper—for the better! Just ask me.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
This morning, as part of staff appreciation week, the libraries' staff received their choice of either a coffee mug or tote bag emblazoned with the new libraries' logo. Libraries' faculty are now welcome to come to the Dean's Office in Bailey/Howe and pick up one or the other for themselves.
Both gift options were selected for environmentally and/or socially conscious reasons. The coffee cups are stainless steel, and by using them instead of paper or plastic cups, your coffee will be cheaper and our landfills will be lighter. Also, the tote bags were made by BMG Wholesale, a division of the Work Training Center, an American-based, 501-c(3), not-for-profit corporation that employs adults with disabilities.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
The September 2008 issue of American Libraries features an article by Trina Magi titled, "A Privacy Victory in Vermont: A New Law Protects Patron Confidentiality." Check it out. And congrats to Trina for a great piece.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Present: Mara Saule, Marianne Burke, Birdie MacLennan, Paul Philbin, Jeanene Light, Nancy Bercaw, Selene Colburn, Jeff Marshall, Peter Blackmer
Mara welcomed Jeanene Light to the Council, and thanked her for agreeing to serve as Interim Director of Information and Instruction Services at B/H. Jeff will chair the search for a permanent director.
Dana Library is now waiving ILL fees for UVM students, staff and faculty and for FAHC employees, including nursing staff. The waiver applies to routine loans of journal articles, books, and audiovisual materials, up to and including 25 items per semester. UVM and FAHC users exceeding the 25 per semester limit will pay the standard UVM rate of $5 per transaction.
The first phase of the University’s re-accreditation process is nearing completion. Mara thanked the Council, as well as the libraries, for their patience during the process. Dr. Phil Austin, the former president of UCONN has been named the chair of UVM’s visiting team, which comes to campus April 19-22, 2009.
The libraries have a tentative plan to participate in a LIBQUAL survey this fall. More information is forthcoming.
B/H Building Update: There is new flooring on the Bailey side of the main floor, in addition to new tables and chairs for increased seating and work space. I&IS continues to assess the best place for the reference desk, although it will stay near the stairs for the first semester. The front entrance redesign is scheduled for December. On the third floor, the space between the WID (Room 303) and the CDI has been cleared to create a third-floor lounge space. Both entries to the CTL and WID have been upgraded, as well, to be ADA compliant. CIT has expressed an interest in putting a help desk in B/H, but at this point there are no further details or timeline.
EBSCO prepayment has been approved by the Board of Trustees. The larger question for UVM, according to Mara, is long-standing relationships for big-ticket purchases. The whole institution may be under close scrutiny while the Board explores systemic budget issues. The next Board meeting is Sept. 4 and 5 in the Davis Center.
Position News: The search to replace Toni Fortini is underway, as the search for a temporary visiting librarian to back fill Trina’s position while she is on sabbatical. The search for the staff position in Special Collections and the temporary position in the CDI are underway as well.
Thanks to shifting efforts, Special Collection now has room to shelve 2000 rare books donated by David Richardson, the grandson of Henry Hobson Richardson who designed Billings.