Why you shouldn't bother with advanced search

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A presentation detailing some of the lessons learnt from the JISC library management systems programme. The session it was a part of was aimed at 'reducing costs and making effeciencies'.

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  • So this is my vision for the LMS programme, its grand aim I guess... It was a relatively small programme of work, but thta doesn’t mean it can’t have a grand aim! In fact, I hope what i will go on to talk about in a minutes will help demonstrate that this aim is something we’re working toward.I took the programme over near the end of its life, so I have the advantage of seeing it from a holistic, and almost from the position of hindsight!Eliminate redundant effortSave money without encroaching on servicesReturn real value to institutions
  • Previously I have always spoken about there being 4 strands to the LMS programme: Usability, Interface enhancement, ERM and Synthesis. But actually this wasn’t quite the themes that emerged from the programme itself, rather these were...But I want to concentrate on just a couple of these as there isn’t time to explore all. Although I would say some of the projects did some very interesting work around usability – Edinburgh with their UX2 project in particular is worth having a look at for the tools and support products they produced.There seems to me a trajectory in the three themes that are left, so I want to just follow that briefly.
  • So here are a couple of the examples from the LMS programme of projects that explored open source LMS and discovery systems. Connecting resource discovery for Uni of Sussex and Brighton (#CReDUAL): This project was all about Technical installation/configuration guides: looking at 2 open source discovery layers and writing up their findings for the wider community. University of Swansea (Exploring Open Source: #OssViab) - A project exploring the viability of open source (Evergreen) LMS for UK HE.What’s really interesting about this part of the programme however, is that despite its limited number of projects, there has been a growing and active open source library community grow up. This became clear from an event JISC and SCONUL held in Edinburgh as part of the Mashed libraries event – where momentum seemed to pick up – and as a result there is a very active mailing list, and institutions seem to be very interested in the possibilities thta OSS library systems offer – Staffordshire is an example of an institution who has recently implemented Koha.But, we also need to reflect on the point that we’re still talking about essentially legacy systems – even the OSS library systems tend to be backward facing, i.e., they are very much of the LMS space. It’s important that we try and move beyond this space – rather than transposing proprietary into open; using the opportunity of open to transform those systems.
  • ERM was reinforced as a major pain point for library management as a result of the SCONUL Shared Services study in 2009 and therefore included in JISC LMS scope. There was only really one project that was exploring ERM, and that was the Salford project, exploring the local requirements of an ERM system. But I just talked about the need to try and re-imagine some of these systems, and move away from their legacy to enable new and exciting services to be created. In early 2011 JISC had an opportunity to put a case to HEFCE for funding to develop a shared ERM system, with the aim of building a shared service that could deliver savings for the community.This is an opportunity for libraries to reduce duplication of effort (i.e. Records can be updated by one institution and shared with everyone else – crowdsourcing and collaborating on data enhancement); minimise ‘chore’ and focus on core: i.e. Instead of spending all the time collecting data, it allows librarians to analyse and exploit the data. And maybe most importantly it frees up resources to focus on those aspects of the institution that make it unique – its special collections etc.Student expectation – need to ensure libraries are not replicating work and draining resources that can be used elsewhere to improve the student experience.
  • So I spoke about data briefly at the end of the last slide on the shared ERM – and I think this takes us quite nicely into the final theme which is mobile – developing apps and widgets is essentially all about the flow of data, and the ability to exploit platforms, rather than systems.What makes Widgets and mobile apps, and back-end plug-ins, interesting is that developed against a shared framework they can be reused across HEIs.  The expense of developing components could be shared and significantly reduced, allowing HEIs to focus on the content which makes their institute unique and distinct.  It also makes the cost of implementing services on new platforms much cheaper and less risky (avoiding iPhone mania) and lowers the skill bar for developing widgets (encourage students to DIY widgets).  Chance to re-think our services – not simply migrate existing ones online or enable them for access by mobile devices. Is there, as Cameron Neylon stated it at UKSG yesterday – a ‘discovery deficit’... Are we focussing on the content, whereas we should be focussing on the conversation (to paraphrase Cory doctorow). Building new services rather than controlling and managing?Link back to the ‘purpose’ of the LMS programme – and the fact that I want to end by highlighting some of the nuggets of wisdom that emerged from the LMS programme... What did I call this presentation... Oh yes.. .Advanced Search....!
  • And so back to the sub-title for today’s presentation – advanced search is really hard to get right – and if you do get it right, chances are no one will use it anyway! Designing a basic search interface that is simple, elegant and easy-to-use for all users remains a challenge. This challenge is even harder when it comes to designing ‘advanced search’ functionality, traditionally perceived as an essential requirement for library users. A number of the projects reported that some users didn’t use the advanced search at all during testing, and those who did found it confusing Why are we not reimagining the catalogue and discovery?
  • “Americans who travel abroad for the first time are often shocked to discover that, despite all the progress that has been made in the last 30 years, many foreign people still speak in foreign languages”Challenging assumptions – advanced search is necessary in library catalogues.Not evidenced based – a lot of work happening to better understand what students feel about the library invading their social spaces! The widget projects, for example, did a lot of work understanding what users felt about the widgets in those other spaces and what the interactions were to be between the widget and the space.
  • Why you shouldn't bother with advanced search

    1. 1. 7th April, 2011 – INF11 programme meeting <br />Presenter or main title…<br />Library Management Systems Programme<br />Session Title or subtitle…<br />Ben Showers, Programme Manager<br />Digital Infrastructure<br />
    2. 2. Learning the lessons of the JISC Library Management Systems Programme.Or:<br />Why you shouldn’t bother with advanced search<br />
    3. 3. Library Management Systems Programme<br />Reallocation of scarce (institutional) funds from costly redundant, legacy services and systems to those next generation services that represent the future of teaching and research<br />
    4. 4. Themes...<br />Usability and user testing<br />Electronic Resource management<br />Web widgets and mobile interfaces<br />Search Functionality<br />Open source software and systems<br />Core library management systems<br />
    5. 5. Open Source...<br />#CReDUAL (University of Sussex)...<br /> Step-by-step implementation of VuFind<br />Connecting VuFind to Talis for holdings data<br />Installing VuFind and Blacklight<br />#OSSviab (University of Swansea)...<br /> Exploring the viability of open source LMS Evergreen<br />The UK Core Specification (UKCS v3) has now been released under a creative commons licence<br />
    6. 6. (Shared) Electronic Resource <br />Management...<br />Salford ERM implementation: <br /> Developed a single ERM process map which documents all of their e-resources processes.<br />JISC/SCONUL requirements for a shared ERM system:<br /> 16 participating institutions<br /> Use cases collected and blogged <br />£600k secured from HEFCE to develop a Shared ERM<br />
    7. 7. Mobile and web widgets...<br />University of Cambridge Library (#culwidgets) <br /><ul><li>Embedding access to content in social networking </li></ul>sites and VLEs.<br /><ul><li> Developed a comprehensive resource for other</li></ul>Institutions to exploit.<br />University of East Anglia (#UEAWolfie)<br /><ul><li> Embedding library services in Facebook</li></ul>Opportunity to rethink services; not <br />simply adapt them for mobile access...<br />
    8. 8. Advanced search is hard to get right - Really hard<br />
    9. 9. Mind your language...<br />Users will challenge your assumptions<br />‘Tagging’ doesn’t work within the library environment<br />Users don’t know what we’re talking about<br />Technology led – not evidence<br />Based (?)<br />
    10. 10. More information...<br />http://lmsmash.blogspot.com/2011/03/final-curtain.html<br />Project synthesis report and project directory<br />

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