Designing Collection Experiences: Discovery


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Explores the public library collection as a discovery tool. Browsing as a primary human search practice; weeding; other collection maintenance and merchandising techniques that improve the reader's experience while in the library and at the shelf.

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  • We are still talking about how to improve the shelved collection, which is the primary device through which the reader discovers what is in the collection.We will be working our way upward in the sets of collections in the remainder of the sessions.
  • Presenting the collection: The collection as artifact.Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Designed by SOM in 1963To emphasize the beauty of these rare books, they were set up to be the centerpiece of the building. All the books were placed around the core like a large display case. The exterior skin is composed of thin marble panels that allow light to show through but not damage the books.
  • Memory palace
  • We don’t commonly see the collection from far away…
  • The library as a system: Lankes puts his focus on the catalog as a conversational system only, probably deriving from his focus on academic libraries and electronic access
  • Library as a giant walk-in index to itself
  • I came across this on Pinterest. It’s fun, but I eventually decided that it misses the mark.Exercise (leave statement on the page): what are some of the issues in thinking of circ and reference as the public library system?There are more departments besides Circ and Reference: Cataloging, IT, Children’s Reference librarians don’t find most of the items. Self-service is a big part of the library system. The legal system, or at least “Law & Order,” deals with exceptions (offences and offenders), not our everyday lives. So does Reference. But Circ people are part of our everyday library experience.
  • There are more departments besides Circ and Reference: Cataloging, IT, Children’s Reference librarians don’t find most of the items. Self-service is a big part of the library system. The legal system, or at least “Law & Order,” deals with exceptions (offences and offenders), not our everyday lives. So does Reference. But Circ people are part of our everyday library experience.
  • Circ Visits Ref Internet use Circulation Visits InternetState 55,516 37,712 3,473 7,296 16 11 2Charles City 81,588 51,775 3,566 13,889 23 15 4Mean E 102,376 93,978 4,387 17,336 23 21 4Cedar Falls 395,690 243,779 30,632 53,434 13 8 2Mean G 451,069 257,980 24,472 46,812 18 11 2Waterloo 424,435 207,597 70,721 117,994 6 3 2Mean H 895,168 498,921 76,780 90,609 12 6 1
  • Before showing this slide, ask participants to estimate what percentage of their reader’s assistance/reference transactions are by phone or digital (email, web, etc.)Wikimedia commons: File:Iceberg.jpgcom/iceberg/ | Date 2005-07-03 | Author Created by UweKils (iceberg) and User:WiskaBodo (sky). | Permission | other_versions ...(573 × 833 (87 KB)) - 09:02, 24 August 2011
  • What we remember is our experience with readers who interact with us, not those who don’t.We worry to much about our own “presentation skills” in interacting with the reader, rather than thinking of ourselves as invisible interfaces.
  • We need to stay out of the way of the conversation the reader is having with the implied librarian.
  • We need to stay out of the way of the conversation the reader is having with the implied librarian.Example of a person narratingan audiobook.
  • Big business oriented – customer service as a separate department, but still has many insightsDumb contacts:
  • CALL oh FONapublisher'sorprinter'sdistinctiveemblem,usedasanidentifyingdeviceon its booksand other works.Boni Liveright originated Modern Library in 1917Bennett Cerf & Donald Klopfer bought Modern Library from Horace Liveright in 1925 (2 years before founding Random House in 1927)Since the Modern Library series started in 1917, it has always had a distinctive colophon. The first one, rather uninteresting I think, appeared on the base of dust jacket spine, the front book cover, and on the title page: it was just the Boni Liveright "BL" emblem with the words "Modern Library" above it.Later B&Ls had a variant impressed on the front cover and on the dust jacket spine; a monk at a writing desk.Just after Cerf and Klopfer bought the 108-title ML collection from Horace Liveright in 1925, they commissioned Lucien Bernhard to design a new colophon - the Flying Torchbearer, representing the light of knowledge. In 1929, Rockwell Kent was brought in to design other colophons. He continued to design variations for the next ten years, all based on the Bernhard.There are a huge variety of these colophons. You'll usually find a colophon on the front book cover (especially in editions after 1931), sometimes embossed, and often in several places on the dust jacket.Random House was founded in 1927 by Americans Bennett Cerf and Donald Klopfer, two years after they acquired the Modern Libraryimprint. Cerf is quoted as saying, "We just said we were going to publish a few books on the side at random," which suggested the name Random House
  • Frances Frei and Anne Morriss Emphasize that staff aren’t the problem Design systems so that heroes aren’t required – great customer service can be provided as a matter of course Difficult to find and pay staff who have both technical and people skills
  • I sent a link to this to everyone on Monday, September 30.
  • Fewer features. Every extra feature makes the other features harder to discover and harder to learn. Paradoxically, by offering fewer features, you might find that people use more of them.Visible features. Don't make people search for key features. Sure, you can use progressive disclosure to hide advanced features, but you must offer users a visible way to unhide them.Visible signifiers. The perceived affordances must clearly indicate what people can do and how they should do it. The guidelines for visualizing links on web pages are a good example. Resist overly flat design in which all items look the same and nothing looks clickable.Just-in-time learning. Although users won't read manuals, they sometimes read small tips that are shown in context.Exploit teachable moments. Error messages can guide users toward better ways to solve their problems.Forgiveness. Exploration is more likely when users can easily get themselves out of any situation. Undo (including the Back button) and clear navigation are essential. Conversely, if people try a new feature and get hurt, you can bet that they won’t be exploring your UI again.Low-commitment previews. Even more forgiving is letting users see what will happen before they actually do it. Examples include the item counts for choosing various options in faceted navigation and the way a document temporarily reformats while hovering over styles in Microsoft Word.Plain usability. The easier something is, the more likely users will have the cognitive surplus to learn it instead of spending their brainpower struggling with simply operating the UI.
  • The first noted use of "serendipity" in the English language was by Horace Walpole (1717–1797). In a letter to Horace Mann (dated 28 January 1754) he said he formed it from the Persian fairy tale The Three Princes of Serendip, whose heroes "were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things they were not in quest of". The name stems from Serendip, an old name for Sri Lanka (aka Ceylon), from Arabic Sarandib.
  • Become one with the book.
  • Ask why.
  • CREW:Save spaceSave timeMake the collection more appealingEnhance the library’s reputation (Implied librarian)Keep up with collection needsConstant feedback on strengths and weaknesses
  • Natural science library in Norway
  • BISAC is an acronym for Book Industry Standards and Communications.
  • Designing Collection Experiences: Discovery

    1. 1. Designing Collection Experiences: 3. Discovery Roy Kenagy October 8, 2013 Waterloo Public Library
    2. 2. The Collection Conversation
    3. 3. Availability: Are the texts that the reader would prefer to select presented when the reader would prefer to select them?
    4. 4. The collection as artifact Frances Yates. The Art of Memory. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1966.
    5. 5. The collection as agent
    6. 6. Conversation Theory R. David Lankes, Joanne Silverstein, Scott Nicholson, and Todd Marshall. "Participatory Networks: The Library As Conversation." Information Research 12, no. 4 (October 2007): available at:
    7. 7. Lankes et. al.: “Roadmap to the participatory library”
    8. 8. The library as system Dee Andy Michel. "A File Structure Model of Library Search Behavior." Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles, 1992.
    9. 9. What are some of the issues in thinking of Circ & Reference as “the public library system”?
    10. 10. "A reference transaction is an information contact that involves the knowledge, use, recommendation, interpretation, or instruction in the use of one or more information sources by a member of the library staff. Information sources include printed and non-printed materials, Internet, FirstSearch, or EBSCOhost, machine-readable databases, catalogs, and other records. Also, count referrals to other libraries, institutions, and persons both inside and outside the library. The request may come in person, by phone, fax, mail, electronic mail, or through live or networked electronic reference service from an adult, young adult, or child. " "Do not count directional transactions or questions of rules or policies. Examples of directional transactions are "Where are the children's books?" and "I'm looking for a book with call number 612.3." An example of a question of rules or policies is 'Are you open until 9:00 tonight?'“ ~Scott Dermont, quoting the rules on IOWALIB, Oct 4, 2013 “Reference” includes reader’s assistance.
    11. 11. For each reference transaction: Checkouts Visits Internet uses Mean, Iowa libraries 16 11 2 Charles City 23 15 4 Mean, Size E 23 21 4 Cedar Falls 13 8 2 Mean, Size G 18 11 2 Waterloo 6 3 2 Mean, Size H 12 6 1 Ratio of reference transactions to library activities Calculated with data found in Iowa Public Library Statistics, FY12 (2011-2012), edited by Scott Dermont. Des Moines, Iowa: Iowa Library Services, May 29, 2013.
    12. 12. For FY 2012 In Iowa, the ratio of reference transactions to library visits was 1:11.
    13. 13. How do we communicate with the hidden 90%? Kathy Sierra. "Presentation Skills Considered Harmful." Serious Pony (October 4, 2013): [blog]; available at 10/4/presentation-skills-considered-harmful.
    14. 14. “And if they’re my users, then this presentation is a user experience. And if it's a user experience, then what am I? Ah... now we’re at the place where stage fright starts to dissolve. Because if the presentation is a user experience, than I am just a UI [User Interface]. That’s it. I am a UI. Nothing more. And what’s a key attribute of a good UI? It disappears. It does not draw attention to itself. It enables the user experience, but is not itself the experience. And the moment I remember this is the moment I exhale and my pulse slows. Because I am not important. What is important is the experience they have. My job is to provide a context in which something happens for them.” Kathy Sierra, "Presentation Skills Considered Harmful."
    15. 15. The Implied Author Wayne C. Booth. The Rhetoric of Fiction. 2nd ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983.
    16. 16. The implied librarian
    17. 17. • Eliminate dumb contacts • Create engaging self service • Be proactive • Make yourself easy to contact • Own your actions across the library • Listen and act • Deliver great customer service experiences
    18. 18. The Story of The Modern Library Lady, as told by the late Thelma Grover. Jay Satterfield. The World's Best Books: Taste, Culture, and the Modern Library. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2002.
    19. 19. • Staff aren’t the problem • Design systems so that heroes aren’t required • It’s difficult to find and pay people with both technical and people skills Frances Frei and Anne Morriss. Uncommon Service: How to Win by Putting Customers at the Core of Your Business. Boston: Harvard Business Review Press, 2012.
    20. 20. This browsing life Why librarians need to take browsing more seriously.
    21. 21. Ronald E. Rice, Maureen McCreadie, and Shan-Ju L. Chang. Accessing and Browsing Information and Communication. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2001.
    22. 22. Geoffrey O'Brien. The Browser's Ecstasy: A Meditation on Reading. Washington, D.C.: Counterpoint, 2000.
    23. 23. User [and librarian] experience Jakob Nielsen. "User Expertise Stagnates at Low Levels." NN/g Nielsen Norman Group: Evidence-Based User Experience Research, Training, and Consulting (September 28, 2013): [web site]; available at
    24. 24. Summary: Learning is hard work, and users don't want to do it; they don't explore the user interface [i.e., catalog] and don't know about most features. Nielsen, Jakob. "User Expertise Stagnates at Low Levels." NN/g Nielsen Norman Group: Evidence-Based User Experience Research, Training, and Consulting (September 28, 2013): [web site]; available at
    25. 25. How to co-exist with browsers (after Jakob Nielsen) • Fewer features • Visible features • Visible signifiers • Just-in-time learning • Teachable moments • Forgiveness • Low-commitment previews • Just plain usability
    26. 26. Brian C. O'Connor, Jud H. Copeland, and Jodi L. Kearns. Hunting and Gathering on the Information Savanna: Conversations on Modeling Human Search Abilities. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow, 2003.
    27. 27. Peter Pirolli. Information Foraging Theory: Adaptive Interaction With Information. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.
    28. 28. Language and representation
    29. 29. “Since most ordinary language is learned by demonstration rather than definition, and such demonstration requires immediate feedback, Information Retrieval systems must be built to facilitate the process of adaptive communication which typifies ordinary language usage.” David C. Blair. Language and Representation in Information Retrieval. Amsterdam: Elsevier, 1990.
    30. 30. Robert K. Merton and Elinor G. Barber. Travels and Adventures of Serendipity: A Study in Historical Semantics and the Sociology of Science. Princeton, N. J.: Princeton University Press, 2004.
    31. 31. Weeding
    32. 32. From the reader’s point of view, your collection consists of the texts you don’t weed. Minus the Collection in Use.
    33. 33. Weeding improves shelf availability.
    34. 34. Weeding creates opportunities.
    35. 35. MAÎTRE D (John Cleese): And finally, monsieur, a wafer-thin mint. MR. CREOSOTE (Terry Jones): Nah. MAÎTRE D: Oh, sir, it’s only a tiny, little, thin one.
    36. 36. The opportunity cost of just-in-case books Annual retail rent per square foot $15.53 (national average; 2nd quarter 2013) Volumes per Format sq. ft. 1 10 100 1,000 Adult hardback books 10 $1.55 $16 $155 $1,553 Paperbacks 20 $0.78 $8 $78 $777 Current periodicals (per issue) 1 $15.53 $155 $1,553 $15,530 Back periodicals (per volume) 10 $1.55 $16 $155 $1,553 Government documents 30 $0.52 $5 $52 $518 Audiotapes 30 $0.52 $5 $52 $518 Cake Pans 1 $15.53 $155 $1,553 $15,530 Compact discs 30 $0.52 $5 $52 $518 Children's books (42" shelving) 9 $1.73 $17 $173 $1,726 Children's books (66" shelving) 15 $1.04 $10 $104 $1,035 Children's picture books (42" shelving) 30 $0.52 $5 $52 $518 Annual cost by number of volumes
    37. 37. Volumes per Format sq. ft. 1,000 5,000 10,000 20,000 Adult hardback books 10 100 500 1,000 2,000 Paperbacks 20 50 250 500 1,000 Current periodicals (per issue) 1 1,000 5,000 10,000 20,000 Back periodicals (per volume) 10 100 500 1,000 2,000 Government documents 30 33 167 333 667 Audiotapes 30 33 167 333 667 Cake Pans 1 1,000 5,000 10,000 20,000 Compact discs 30 33 167 333 667 Children's books (42" shelving) 9 111 556 1,111 2,222 Children's books (66" shelving) 15 67 333 667 1,333 Children's picture books (42" shelving) 30 33 167 333 667 by Volumes Weeded Square Feet Released Space released by weeding
    38. 38. Benefits – space & otherwise
    39. 39. Collection Depreciation
    40. 40. Weeding Practices How do you weed? How would you like to weed?
    41. 41. Weed the entire collection once a year. That first year is a doozie.
    42. 42. Team Weeding
    43. 43. Determine rhizomes Cutoff standards vary widely among rhizomes.
    44. 44. Determine cutoff standards Demand, Currency, Condition
    45. 45. Demand cutoff standards Demand standards are based on the same data as duplication standards.
    46. 46. Slote, Stanley J. Weeding Library Collections: Library Weeding Methods. 4th ed. Littleton, CO: Libraries Unlimited, 1997.
    47. 47. Time Since Last Arrival Days/Months since last arrival Duplicate? Weed?
    48. 48. Shelf Time Studies • Weeding cutoff dates • Size of active/inactive collections
    49. 49. Shelf Time exercise: answers
    50. 50. Currency CREW standards and/or 1½ times median age of the Collection in Use.
    51. 51. CREW: A Weeding Manual for Modern Libraries, ed. Jeanette Larson. Revised and updated ed. Austin, Tex.: Texas State Library, 2012; available at https://www.tsl.state.tx. us/ld/pubs/crew/index. html.
    52. 52. Rod Pierce. "Definition of Median" Math Is Fun. Ed. Rod Pierce. Aug 23, 2013.
    53. 53. Using median age to estimate currency cutoff age 1 ½ times the median age of the collection in use
    54. 54. Condition Start with a sample of copies with 50 or more circulations, and work in either direction depending on the result.
    55. 55. Create pick list(s)
    56. 56. Pick list report(s) • Copies that haven’t circulated in X number of months [Demand cutoff] • Copies that are older than X [Currency cutoff] • Copies that have circulated more than X times [Condition cutoff] Create a combined list if possible
    57. 57. Assemble the worst-case collection Have an aide or volunteer pull the pick list and shelve the copies in shelf list order in a staff work area.
    58. 58. Selector Sort The selector responsible for the rhizome reviews and physically separates the worst-case copies into 4 ranges.
    59. 59. • Withdraw • Replacement • Further research • Free keepers
    60. 60. Team Review Other staff review the selector’s decisions and comment on titles they would treat differently.
    61. 61. Selector Followup Final disposition of the copies is completed by the selector responsible for the rhizome.
    62. 62. Evaluation Review cutoff standards annually. Summarize findings to help in estimating replacement budgets and selection decisions.
    63. 63. Annual-weeding-as-inventory
    64. 64. Missing Items Inventory • Weeding • Circulation • Shelf checks • Reference Inventory • High-Loss Tracking
    65. 65. Warehouse or Savanna?
    66. 66. Classification
    67. 67. BISAC Subject Classification Book Industry Standards and Communication
    68. 68. anythink: Rangeview Library District, Adams County, Colorado
    69. 69. Merchandising
    70. 70. Paco Underhill. Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping— Updated and Revised for the Internet, the Global Consumer, and Beyond. Rev. ed. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2009.
    71. 71. ServiceScapes: The Concept of Place in Contemporary Markets, ed. John F. Sherry, Jr. Lincolnwood, Ill.: NTC Business Books, 1998.
    72. 72. Jeannette Woodward. Creating the Customer- Driven Library: Building on the Bookstore Model. Chicago: American Library Association, 2004.
    73. 73. Stephanie Weaver. Creating Great Visitor Experiences: A Guide for Museums, Parks, Zoos, Gardens, and Libraries. Walnut Creek, Calif.: Left Coast Press, 2007.
    74. 74. Mary Anne Nichols. Merchandising Library Materials to Young Adults. Libraries Unlimited Professional Guides for Young Adult Librarians, edited by C. Allen Nichols and Mary Anne Nichols. Greenwood Village, Colo.: Libraries Unlimited, 2002.
    75. 75. Stack Management
    76. 76. William J. Hubbard. Stack Management: A Practical Guide to Shelving and Maintaining Library Collections. Chicago: American Library Association, 1981.
    77. 77. Richard Joseph Hyman. Shelf Access in Libraries. Chicago: American Library Association, 1982.
    78. 78. Reader’s Assistance A tale of three service desks.
    79. 79. Programming Where implied librarians are sometimes ambushed.
    80. 80. Electronic Discovery In search of a secure recommender system.
    81. 81. Ray Oldenburg. The Great Good Place: Cafes, Coffee Shops, Community Centers, Beauty Parlors, General Stores, Bars, Hangouts and How They Get You Through the Day. 2nd ed. New York: Marlowe, 1997.
    82. 82. The collection conversation