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User-Generated Content and Social Discovery in the Academic Library Catalogue: Findings From User Research
 

User-Generated Content and Social Discovery in the Academic Library Catalogue: Findings From User Research

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Co-presented with Martha Whitehead at Access 2008

Co-presented with Martha Whitehead at Access 2008

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User-Generated Content and Social Discovery in the Academic Library Catalogue: Findings From User Research User-Generated Content and Social Discovery in the Academic Library Catalogue: Findings From User Research Presentation Transcript

  • User-Generated Content and Social Discovery in the Academic Library Catalogue: Findings From User Research Martha Whitehead, Queen’s University Library Steve Toub, BiblioCommons Access 2008, Hamilton, October 2, 2008
  • Agenda
    • Overview of the problems we want to address
    • Observations about research and intriguing ideas to explore
    • User research on user-generated content and social discovery at an academic library
    • Preliminary thoughts on how to ensure quality
    • Vision and status of BiblioCommons academic product at Queens
    • Questions
  • The Problem
    • Discovery
    • g etting answers to questions you don’t know how to ask
    • finding gems you don’t know exist
  •  
  • Observation: Learning and Research are Social
    • Social
    • considering the judgements and insights of others
  • User-Generated Content
    • Narrow sense
    • tags, ratings, reviews
    • Broader sense
    • curated content
  • Existing Implementations: UGC in the narrow sense
  • Existing Implementations: UGC in the broader sense
  • Existing Implementations: UGC in the broader sense
  • Existing Implementations: UGC in the broader sense
  • Existing Implementations: UGC in broader sense
  • What have scholars told us about research?
    • Ontario Council of University Libraries (OCUL) Scholars Portal User Study, May 2008, with Usability Matters
    • Primary Objective:
      • Understand the information research processes of experienced researchers in a variety of disciplines
    • Methodology
      • 6 collaborative design sessions with 8-10 participants each
      • 3 discipline areas
        • Arts & Humanities
        • Social Sciences
        • Sciences (Natural, Applied, Health, etc.)
  • Discover, gather, create, share
    • A Multi-Dimensional Framework for Academic Support, June 2006, University of Minnesota Libraries funded by Mellon Foundation*, building upon John Unsworth’s concept of scholarly primitives: “basic functions common to scholarly activity across disciplines, over time, and independent of theoretical orientation.”**
    • Validated in OCUL study: A number of groups introduced the terms “interaction”, “collaboration” or “conversation” and ultimately decided that these are not discrete steps in the process but, rather, are overarching throughout all “phases”. They were adamant about the importance of this aspect of their information research process.
    • * http://www.lib.umn.edu/about/mellon/UMN_Multi-dimensional_Framework_Final_Report.pdf
    • **John Unsworth. “Scholarly Primitives: What Methods do Humanities Researchers Have in Common and How Might Our Tools Reflect This?” Humanities Computing, Formal Methods, Experimental Practice Symposium, Kings College, London, May 13, 2000. http://jefferson.village.virginia.edu/~jmu2m/Kings.5-00/primitives.html
  • Aspects of “typical” research process
    • Thinking of keyword search terms
      • Brainstorm with colleagues
      • Use a familiar or seminal article or journal
      • Use books and bibliographies/references
    • Participants appreciate being able to find sources based on:
      • What others searched for
      • Most accessed resources
      • Most cited resources
      • Most credible or prestigious sources
    • In storyboarding the ideal discovery process, they included:
      • Seeing recommendations from “authorities”
      • Classics in the field
      • Ways to find “surprises”, unanticipated sources
  • Social?
    • The research process is social, but that doesn’t refer to social tools
    • Few had heard of Del.icio.us
    • Everyone had heard of Facebook but only one or two were using it for academic purposes
  • “ Social discovery,” not “social networking”
    • User consultation at Queen’s University, February 2007, with Usability Matters
    • 4 focus groups, 6-8 participants each, undergrads, grads, faculty
    • Objectives
      • Elicit opinions regarding current state of the library website(s)
      • Determine how the library website can support user needs
      • Explore user expectations around information searching and browsing
      • Determine user interest and expectations around library instruction and guidance
      • Elicit ideas for new website features and services
        • Personalized website features
        • Social networking features
  • Research on UGC: Attitudes
  •  
  •  
  • The main point
    • Participants expressed their desire to know what trusted colleagues (professors, fellow researchers) think
  • March 2008: Research on the research process
    • At Queen’s, held in a library conference room
    • Faculty, graduate students and undergraduates
    • Recruitment of faculty through email
    • Recruitment of others through link/survey on website, catalogue
    • Hour-long one-on-ones
    • Starting with library website, existing catalogue
    • Also got reaction to several NGCs
    • 4 faculty; 2 staff researchers (both taught occasionally); 2 graduate students; 5 undergraduates
    • Librarians
    • 2 focus groups of 8-10 librarians each
  • March 2008: Key findings on the research process (1)
    • Faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates
      • Employ post-search limiting very infrequently
        • Only people who’ve seen facets before noticed facets in NGCs
      • Reformulate queries via back button and typing variant terms instead
        • Do not reformulate queries by ORing all terms or using truncation, wildcards
    • Librarians
      • Want the power of a comprehensive command-line query syntax (e.g., fielded searches, Boolean operators, truncation)
  • March 2008: key findings on the research process (2)
    • Faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates
      • Avoid hyperlinked subject headings
        • Result screens that list headings are perceived as confusing and unhelpful
        • Virtual shelf-browsing tested well
    • Librarians
      • Value the bibliographic control provided by subject headings
  • March 2008: key findings on the research process (3)
    • Faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates
      • Don’t experience pain when manually managing and formatting citations
    • Librarians
      • Think DirectExport to RefWorks is high priority
  • March 2008: key findings on the research process (4)
    • Faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates
      • When frustrated, students tend not to as for help, especially from librarians
        • Even in the face of atrocious information literacy skills
        • Information literacy skills not dependent on age/role
    • Librarians
      • Want to help
  • June 2008 one-on-ones devoted to UGC
      • Recruited May 28-30 via Facebook ad that linked to SurveyMonkey survey
        • 175,662 impressions. 111 clicks = 0.06% click-through rate
        • 36 completed surveys = 32% who viewed survey completed it
      • Nine one-hour sessions June 4, 5 at BiblioCommons
        • Eight undergraduates (U of T, Queens, Western)
          • 3 completed fourth year
          • 2 completed second year
          • 1 completed first year
        • Two graduate students: brother-sister pair who attended the same hour session
  • Solicited feedback using a variety of different media
      • Web sites they’ve used to make product choices (e.g., Restaurantica.com, Rotten Tomatoes)
      • Their university library web page and OPAC
        • And a page in University of Michigan’s OPAC directing their attention to MTagger
      • On-screen mockups of three different ways in which they could contribute UGC in the library context
      • Paper mockup of a course-related hub page that provided links to various items associated with a course
      • List of possible motivations for contributing UGC
  • This round focused more on narrow UGC than broad
    • Existing application already has strong support for curated lists
      • Completed initial exploratory R&D on broad UGC in public library product
      • Will need more R&D to tweak list creation flows
        • Faculty syllabus tool that outputs to course reserves, bookstore, courseware
        • Convert ad hoc reference interview into a BiblioCommons list
    • Still early days for narrow UGC in academic library catalogue
      • Not sure why data elements and motivations apply in academic context
      • Not aware of any published research on this
    • Concepts and motivations apply equally well
  • Attitudes about UGC
  • Attitudes about UGC
  • Tagging?
    • What is this?
    • “ I’m not entirely sure… I would like to assume… some sort of user feedback…but I don’t why they’d say “tag” … but if you were a student there you’d probably know what it was…”
    • D_____, graduated 4 th year, entering FIS
  • Tagging!
    • Have you ever heard of tagging?
    • “ No .”
    • Have you ever tagged on Facebook?
    • “ Of course. That’s with photos. They have it for text – but no one uses it.”
    • D____, Graduated 4 th year, entering FIS
  •  
  •  
  • The most important data elements (course context)
    • Relevance to course
      • A lot of “Is it going to be on the test?”
      • But some nuances we could explore further:
      • “ How related is this reading is to other readings?” or
      • “ How related this reading is to the lecture?”
    • Clarity [a.k.a. level of difficulty]
    • was second most popular data element
  • Mechanics of data entry process for UGC
    • Most said they might not fill out more than 1-2 data elements.
    • The “sliders” represented in the mockups tested well.
        • Moving a “slider” is perceived to be easier than typing.
        • If there are no open-ended comments that involve typing, it may be possible to ask for more than two data elements using “sliders”.
        • Segments on the “sliders” should be visually apparent; could be 5-or 10-point scale.
    • Anonymity, i.e., having the ability to choose a username that isn’t personally identifiable, will make contributions more likely.
    • Most wanted other students to view their comments.
    • Even the person least likely to contribute (when we first saw the concept, her reaction was, “Why would I do that?”) in the end said she would be willing to share comments with others if she only had to fill in 1-2 things for each item and if her comments were anonymous.
  •  
  • Course hub mockup
  • Reaction to the course hub mockup
    • “ That would be amazing!”
    • “ That would become my new first place to go to start my searches.”
    • --L_____, completed 2 nd year at Western
  • Likeliest opportunities to contribute
    • The course reading context seems the likeliest opportunity to contribute.
      • Solicitation in this context only works if the syllabus were online and the student is looking at the syllabus online rather than a paper copy.
      • When using the syllabus online, if they were looking at what to read for Week 2, they wouldn’t mind an invitation to comment on the readings for Week 1.
        • They would like the ability to edit their comments later on.
    • Soliciting contributions from a “recently returned” also well received.
      • Mixed reaction on email solicitations on “recently returned”.
        • Need to probe further on how to make emails palatable. Several said they didn’t want email at all. One person said that if she’d much prefer email but not on each recently returned item but only if she got a single email once a month.
    • The “answers” mockup may only be utilized by who would ask questions, a definite minority.
        • Many fiercely resist the idea of asking others for help, even a TA or professor.
  • Possible motivations to contribute
    • Earn Campus Credits
      • Chances to win prizes
      • $ off fines, bookstore, foodservices
      • “ Printer Points”
      • Charitable contributions
    • Opportunity to give feedback / Have my say. which online articles, library materials or course readings are useful; which are not
      • To the library
      • To my professors
    • Contribute / Give back to my university…the library. Help build a richer, more useful catalogue / database.
    • Get recommendations, suggestions – for materials I might not have otherwise found
    • Help others/everyone get to useful resources faster.
      • More time thinking – less time finding
    •   Quid pro Quo: I earn rights to ask others questions, when I answer some myself.
  • Possible motivations to contribute
    • Earn Campus Credits
      • Chances to win prizes
      • $ off fines, bookstore, foodservices
      • “ Printer Points”
      • Charitable contributions
    • Opportunity to give feedback / Have my say. which online articles, library materials or course readings are useful; which are not
      • To the library
      • To my professors
    • Contribute / Give back to my university…the library. Help build a richer, more useful catalogue / database.
    • Get recommendations, suggestions – for materials I might not have otherwise found
    • Help others/everyone get to useful resources faster.
      • More time thinking – less time finding
    •   Quid pro Quo: I earn rights to ask others questions, when I answer some myself.
  • The #1 motivation
    • Helps [others] get to useful resources faster Help us be more helpful to you
      • Could do more probing on language
      • Several commented that they liked the idea of spending “less time finding, more time writing”
    • Strong sense of
      • Pay it forward
        • “ If I do it now, it will help others later”
        • “ If others do it, it will help me when I need it”
      • Empty restaurant syndrome
        • Some fears of being the first to contribute if they did not see evidence that others were doing the same
        • Stronger indication they’d contribute if they saw that everyone else was doing it
  • It seems pretty easy to “buy” student participation
    • Even the one student
    • who had consistently said
    • she wouldn’t be likely to contribute
    • quickly checked off
    • all 4 “Campus Credit” concepts as motivating.
  • Primary barriers to contributing
      • Many (but not all) are unwilling to support freeloaders.
        • However, they do like being able to freeload themselves and do see the connection that someone must contribute for others to freeload.
      • Worried about being accused of plagiarism makes students reluctant to share with peers.
        • Course-related sharing may need to be sanctioned by the professor of that course to allay these fears.
  • Strategies for ensuring quality
    • Patron authentication: fosters more measured and insightful comments
      • It is not possible to leave anonymous comments in our system
      • Every username is associated back to a real user authenticated against the library database
    • Aggregation: helps you not draw conclusions from a single source
      • Ability to see all reviews by particular reviewer
      • Ability to view reviews on an item by many different customers.
    • Design a marketplace of ideas: self-managed system, not editorial review
      • Capture positive/negative sentiment in a structured way
      • Review the reviews
      • Expose more attributes than binary hasReview vs. lacksReview
        • “ 3 students in your class found this reading helpful to prepare for the midterm exam”
        • “ 4 faculty included this item in course reading lists”
  • Vision for BiblioCommons’ academic product
    • Provide a smart catalogue that offers an outstanding user experience
      • When searching, for most of the people, most of the time, less is more
      • Conditional display of request actions, no buttons leading to a dead end
      • Surface curated content: lists, course reading lists, student bibliographies, etc.
      • Provide ways to get answers to questions that users didn’t know how to ask
    • Organize by courses, assignments; not LCSH or broad subject guides
      • Ensure UGC data elements are course-centric, assignment-centric
      • Provide course hubs that unify access to disparate course-related links
    • Break down artificial barriers between data silos
      • Library web site
      • Electronic resource A-Z lists
      • Courseware (e.g., WebCT)
      • Article databases
  • Our research and development with Queen’s
    • Priorities grounded in user research
    • Significant new development for BiblioCommons
    • 2008/2009: Iterative beta release process
  • Questions?
    • Martha Whitehead
    • Associate University Librarian, Queen’s University Library
    • [email_address]
    • Steve Toub
    • Product Manager, Academic Services, BiblioCommons
    • [email_address]