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There was a time (I’m told) when the content that publishers created, libraries purchased, and researchers read fit into neat and predefined packages. These packages -- widgets, we’ll call them, although we might also call them books or journals -- came with a clear set of expectations regarding how they would work and how they might be sold. This common set of expectations made it relatively easy for all parties: publishers and authors could focus on making the content within the widget as good as it could possibly be; librarians and researchers would choose between these widgets based on their needs. But the days of this clarity are fading, if they haven’t already passed. The scholarly communication ecosystem is changing rapidly: how to keep up when the rules keep changing?
JSTOR’s approach has been to adopt many of the tools and techniques of the capital-D disruptors in order to rise to the challenge they represent, while creating services that are more aligned with our users’ needs and our mission. Among these techniques are the adoption of new methodologies geared at discovering and building the best products possible. Design thinking and lean startup methodologies have helped us to get away from “merely” producing widgets and instead create new kinds of products and services.
In this presentation, I’ll describe how JSTOR Labs, an experimental platform developmental team at JSTOR, uses design thinking to find new ways to provide value to our partners and users. I’ll explain how we combine user research with rapid, iterative development to create new kinds of user experiences, quickly.