Keeping It PersonalSupporting collaboration, assessment, andefficiency in a large personal librarian pilot                ...
The University of Toronto• FTE of 77,000 across three campuses• 15,000 incoming freshmen each year• No common first year p...
Personal Librarian Pilot• 5 months from conception to implementation• Re-purposed a home-grown mass email system• 10 libra...
The Original System – Research Alerts
The Original System - Research Alerts• Built on top of Codelgniter (PHP)• Running on a virtual LAMP server in the  Robarts...
The New System – Personal Librarian
The System – Writing Mass Emails
The System – Writing Mass Emails
The System – The Website   http://personal.library.utoronto.ca
The System - Profiles
Librarian Feedback
Student Feedback
Surprises Along the Way• Many students don’t use their first name!• Librarians were less concerned about injecting  their ...
Next Steps - Personalization• Can we add a ‘nickname’ column that  librarians can edit?
Next Steps - Scaling• Can we speed up the sending process?   Put mail in a queue to run overnight, or schedule    batch d...
Next Steps - Workflow• Can librarians hold conversations with  students inside the system?
Current Workflow   Data fromregistrars office                                                                             ...
Future Workflow   Data fromregistrars office                                                                              ...
Thank you!      rita.vine@utoronto.ca      ken.yang@utoronto.ca  jacqueline@scholarsportal.infohttp://personal.library.uto...
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Keeping it personal: Supporting collaboration, assessment, and efficiency in a large personal librarian pilot

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Presentation from the University of Toronto Libraries (Jacqueline Whyte Appleby, Ken Yang, and Rita Vine) for the ACRL 2013 conference, April 11 2013, Indianapolis, on the repurposing of an in-house mail merge application to become the content management and mass emailing system to support a large Personal Librarian project.

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  • See the project web site at https://personal.library.utoronto.ca/index.php/content/about for additional information and contacts.
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  • Good morning and introductionsWe’re going to talk today about a Personal Librarian pilot project – the first year is just wrapping up
  • Just to give you some institutional context..FTE of 77k - about 65k of those are undergrads15,000 freshmen each yearThere is no first year program
  • 5 months from conception to implementation, which was for September 2012We started off with with 10 piloting librarians and 1000 new students, randomly chosen.We used a home grown system, but with significant tweaks.
  • This is the system we started with, an in house system used to alert faculty to relevent research [briefly - about its purpose]
  • Check on these points
  • This is what it looked like when we were done. This took a lot of time.The reasons for choosing to modify the systems, rather than going with something like Constant Contact:- Our list of requirements was always expanding, and we needed modifications made quickly- We felt that students would recognize a mail merger system like Constant Contact-
  • These are the pieces of composing a letterYou select who it’s going to come from – this is handy if librarians are going to be out of town we might send a slightly modified message from there. But alsoSpeaking with Personal Librarian co-ordinators at Drexel, they emphasized that librarians really wanted to add their own personal ‘voice’ when emailing. We wanted to have that option for further down the road, but also to, during the pilot phase, speak with a single voice for assessment purposes. Tags make it easy to include student and librarian names – we write using these tags and the system fills them in – pulling the names of the sender and the recipients from our database.We write our message using a rich text box. And then at the bottom this signature is automatically included – the librarians graphical signature, their name, and then a link to the student survey.
  • This is what the final product looked like – always the U of T library heading, and you see how the pre-written signature section looks.You’ll notice we actually didn’t use the merge tags to address the student, and we’ll talk about why that is in a few minutes.
  • So: This is the public website from which both librarians and students can access the system – personal.library.utoronto.caOn the left hand side we have some quick links, and the “login with your utorid” as well as “find my personal librarian” – if it’s a student logging in, both of these links do the same thing – they check the student’s credentials, and then see if there’s a match in the system; if they show up on anybody’s list.
  • If they log in and do have a match, this is what they’ll see – their librarian’s profile, a bit about them and what they can do for them, ways to contact them.These profiles were modeled on the Yale version. Most of this can be edited but not the ‘What I can do’ and ‘I won’t’ If you’re a librarian you see this instead: {click] So I can edit my profile at any time, compose a new message to students, or after I’ve spoken to a student , (click) ‘Give Encounter Feedback’
  • This is the feedback form – librarians are expected to fill it out each time they ‘close’ an interaction with a student. The link is there within the system, but the surveying tool we’re using is Soundings?, a separate tool the University of Toronto has purchased.
  • Students are also asked to fill out a feedback survey, though this of course is not mandatory. This link comes to them in the signature of our initial email automatically, and we can also manually add it to the final to in the conversation – so when we deem the interaction is done. Again, this is not happening in the system.
  • A lot of students wrote back to our opening email saying “Hi yes that’s my name but I go by ______” After they’d explicitly told us they used a different name, we didn’t want to use a merge tag that again pulled their official first name – so we dropped calling them by name after the first email.Librarians who had started PL programs at other libraries told us that their participating librarians really wanted to use their own voice when talking to students. For assessment purposes, we wanted to speak with a single voice in these emails, so two of us mostly wrote the emails, but offered opportunities for other PLs to comment and make suggestions. For the most part they were just fine with us sending stuff out in their name, and we got little feedback.Unless you were the one writing and sending the emails, there wasn’t a lot of reason to visit the PL website. The only reason to go there was to fill out the survey – and this kind of workflow, where survey response is disconnected from actual meeting format, meant that some people simply didn’t fill them outSo, related to these surprises…
  • These are some modifications we’d like to make to the system to make that happen One of the most immediate changes we need to make is to add a data column called nickname. By default, this will replicate the student’s first name, but it should be editable by the librarian so that
  • These are some modifications we’d like to make to the system to make that happen One of the most immediate changes we need to make is to add a data column called nickname. By default, this will replicate the student’s first name, but it should be editable by the librarian so that OPTIONS – overnight sending, multiple computers, workarounds?
  • These are some modifications we’d like to make to the system to make that happen
  • Keeping it personal: Supporting collaboration, assessment, and efficiency in a large personal librarian pilot

    1. 1. Keeping It PersonalSupporting collaboration, assessment, andefficiency in a large personal librarian pilot ACRL 2013 Cyber Zed Shed Session Ken Yang, Jacqueline Whyte Appleby & Rita Vine University of Toronto #PersonalLibrarian
    2. 2. The University of Toronto• FTE of 77,000 across three campuses• 15,000 incoming freshmen each year• No common first year program
    3. 3. Personal Librarian Pilot• 5 months from conception to implementation• Re-purposed a home-grown mass email system• 10 librarians, 1000 students
    4. 4. The Original System – Research Alerts
    5. 5. The Original System - Research Alerts• Built on top of Codelgniter (PHP)• Running on a virtual LAMP server in the Robarts Library Data Centre
    6. 6. The New System – Personal Librarian
    7. 7. The System – Writing Mass Emails
    8. 8. The System – Writing Mass Emails
    9. 9. The System – The Website http://personal.library.utoronto.ca
    10. 10. The System - Profiles
    11. 11. Librarian Feedback
    12. 12. Student Feedback
    13. 13. Surprises Along the Way• Many students don’t use their first name!• Librarians were less concerned about injecting their own voice• Not all librarians were proactive in filling out the Post-Encounter survey
    14. 14. Next Steps - Personalization• Can we add a ‘nickname’ column that librarians can edit?
    15. 15. Next Steps - Scaling• Can we speed up the sending process?  Put mail in a queue to run overnight, or schedule batch delivery?  Employ multicomputer processing?
    16. 16. Next Steps - Workflow• Can librarians hold conversations with students inside the system?
    17. 17. Current Workflow Data fromregistrars office Email is sent to Students and students, librarians are Email is composed appearing to be a randomly one-to-one matched interactionData fromlibrarians Librarians fill out encounter Librarian and survey students email Students respond to pilot survey Inside the system meetings Outside the system
    18. 18. Future Workflow Data fromregistrars office Email is sent to Students and students, librarians are Email is composed appearing to be randomly a one-to-one matched interactionData fromlibrarians Librarians fill out encounter Librarian and survey students email Students respond to pilot survey Inside the system meetings Outside the system
    19. 19. Thank you! rita.vine@utoronto.ca ken.yang@utoronto.ca jacqueline@scholarsportal.infohttp://personal.library.utoronto.ca

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