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Humanities Users in the Digital Age: Library Needs Assessment


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Presentation given at the NFAIS Humanities Roundtable XII for the panel “Is It Marketing to Users, Instruction for Users or Interfering with Users?: Engaging Students, Scholars and Faculty Members”

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Humanities Users in the Digital Age: Library Needs Assessment

  1. 1. Harriett Green University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign NFAIS Humanities Roundtable XII September 30, 2013
  2. 2.  “While a greater reliance and dependency on digital resources is inevitable, the quality of the data and their organization and accessibility in service to teaching and scholarship are major concerns. “Without the guiding voice of scholars, the tremendous effort now being devoted to digitizing our cultural heritage could in fact impede, not facilitate, future research.” —Charles Henry, The Idea of Order: Transforming Research Collections for 21st Century Scholarship Why Users?
  3. 3.  Scholarly primitives (Unsworth 2000):  Discovering  Annotating  Comparing  Referring  Sampling  Illustrating  Representing What Are They Doing? Scholarly information activities (Palmer, Neumann, Pirmann 2009):  Searching  Collecting  Reading  Writing  Collaborating  Data Practices
  4. 4.   Study published in Website Analytics for Information Professionals: A LITA Guide  Analytics data from Google Analytics and StatCounter for three websites  Who are the library’s users?  How well do they navigate the website’s architecture to find resources?  What information needs do their searching and browsing behavior express?  Findings:  Website usage reflective of humanities research practices: non-linear, wide-ranging, hybrid resources  Address user needs for specialized content Humanities Web Portal
  5. 5.  What:  Survey of faculty on usage of literature journals collection Needs:  Access to a broad scope of the scholarly literature  Have a easily accessible conduit for scholarly communications and currency  Tool for graduate training  Content-rich for interdisciplinary use Results:  Literatures and Languages Journals database  Future: RSS feed aggregators like TicTOC Journals User Study
  6. 6.   MONK = Metadata Opens New Knowledge  Study published in LLC: Web analytics data and interviews Needs:  Collocation of information resources and tools  Flexibility in access to resources and tools  User friendliness in structure of resource MONK User Study
  7. 7.   Adaptability  Manipulability What Are Users Seeking?
  8. 8.  “Reading will be immersive, not in the sense that we think of now, where the seamless virtual skin of a rendered environment creates an illusion of wholeness where only fragmentary knowledge exists, but the opposite, a faceted, fragmented world of associated bits, pieces, parts, whose kaleidoscopic reorganization follows a productive tension between lines of composition and interpretation, authorship and re-authorship through the performative acts of reading and viewing.” —Johanna Drucker, “Scholarly Publishing: Micro Units and the Macro Scale” Future modes of information interaction
  9. 9.  Harriett Green English and Digital Humanities Librarian University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign | @greenharr Handout: Thank you!