Enhancing the Usability of Libraries


Published on

A presentation on enhancing the usability of libraries delivered at the Ark Group's recent conference, "Management Strategies for Library and Information Service Centres", Sydney, 19-21 September 2007.

Published in: Technology, Health & Medicine
1 Like
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide
  • The topic of my presentation this morning is “Enhancing the Usability of Libraries”. I am going to discuss some theoretical approaches to usability and some practical examples from my own library and other libraries. I hope that you will all be prompted, even inspired, to take a fresh look at the usability of your own libraries and hopefully come away with a few examples you can borrow and adapt. I am also hoping to pick up some ideas from you to take back to my library.
  • Enhancing the Usability of Libraries

    1. 1. Enhancing the Usability of Libraries Suzanne Lewis, Manager, Gosford and Wyong Hospital Libraries, Northern Sydney Central Coast Health
    2. 2. Usability <ul><li>Easy to learn </li></ul><ul><li>Useful </li></ul><ul><li>Easy to use </li></ul><ul><li>Pleasant to use </li></ul>Gould, J.D. and Lewis, C. Designing for usability: key principles and what designers think. Communications of the ACM, 28, 3 (March 1985): 300-311.
    3. 3. Ease of Use <ul><li>Defined as “how quickly we can use a product to complete tasks”. </li></ul><ul><li>Library patrons want ease of use. </li></ul>
    4. 4. Usefulness <ul><li>Defined as whether the product does “what it is supposed to do …. Does it work?” What are the end results? </li></ul><ul><li>Librarians want usefulness. </li></ul>
    5. 5. <ul><li>ease of use + usefulness </li></ul><ul><li>= </li></ul><ul><li>usability </li></ul>Dicks, R. Stanley. Mis-usability: on the uses and misuses of usability testing. Proceedings of the 20th Annual International Conference on Computer Documentation , 26-30. October 20-23, 2002, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
    6. 6. Usability Quick Fixes <ul><li>Signage </li></ul><ul><li>Display </li></ul><ul><li>Weeding </li></ul><ul><li>Opening hours </li></ul><ul><li>Food and drink - coffee </li></ul>Woodward, J. 2005. Creating the customer-driven library: building on the bookstore model. American Library Association: Chicago.
    7. 7. Library Lovers Love Coffee
    8. 8. A usable library is easily located and accessible http://www.johnstanley.cc/
    9. 9. Stanley, J & L. 2004. Think for your customer . Lizardpublishing.biz: Kalamunda, WA. All faded, ripped signs are removed All signage is relevant to today All lights are working All displays re-stocked All clutter removed from counter All staff wearing name badges Windows, doors, floors clean & all litter removed Time on clock is correct Velcro, Blu-Tack and sticky tape removed Brochure holders full of relevant leaflets Out of date material removed from counter Completed (tick √) Daily Checklist
    10. 10. What Makes a Library Usable? <ul><li>Accessibility – physical and online </li></ul><ul><li>Relevance – right information, right place, right time </li></ul><ul><li>Responsive to patrons – able to change, adapt, respond quickly </li></ul><ul><li>Attitude of library staff </li></ul>
    11. 11. Three Types of Librarianship <ul><li>“ Lollipop librarianship” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Broccoli librarianship” </li></ul><ul><li>Evidence based librarianship </li></ul>
    12. 12. Lollipop Librarianship <ul><li>Give them what they want </li></ul><ul><li>Choose services and resources that are easy to learn and use </li></ul><ul><li>Google </li></ul><ul><li>Fast results but not always the best or most useful </li></ul>
    13. 13. Lollipop Librarianship <ul><li>Hangwi Tang & Jennifer Hwee Kwoon Ng. 2006. Googling for a diagnosis – use of Google as a diagnostic aid: internet based study. British Medical Journal 333:1143-1145, 10 November. </li></ul><ul><li>“… . In difficult diagnostic cases, it is often useful to ‘google for a diagnosis’. Web based search engines such as Google are becoming the latest tools in clinical medicine, and doctors in training need to become proficient in their use”. </li></ul><ul><li>In this study, using 26 case reports from the New England Journal of Medicine, Google searches found the correct diagnosis in 58% of cases. </li></ul><ul><li>58% !!!!!!! </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
    14. 14. Referrals from Search Engines to Web Sites of 844 Journals Hosted by HighWire Press (June 2005) Steinbrook, R. Searching for the right search – reaching the medical literature. New England Journal of Medicine 2006; 354:4-7.
    15. 15. Broccoli Librarianship <ul><li>Telling patrons what they should know and how they should use services and resources because “it is good for them”. </li></ul>Vaughn, D. & Burton C. 2003. Broccoli librarianship and Google-bred patrons, or what’s wrong with usability testing? College & Undergraduate Libraries 10 (2), 1-18.
    16. 16. Information Literacy <ul><li>“ only librarians like to search; everyone else likes to find” </li></ul><ul><li>(Roy Tennant quoted in Wilder, S. 2005. “Information literacy makes all the wrong assumptions”. The Chronicle Review, 51, 18. http://chronicle.com/weekly/v51/i18/18b01301.htm ) </li></ul><ul><li>“ The OPAC meets librarians’ needs, not the end-users’ needs. Change the OPAC rather than doing more information literacy training. Put our content into GOOGLE.” </li></ul><ul><li>(Abram, Stephen. The Top 10 Strategies for Library Success – An Expert Forum with Stephen Abram. 29 August 2007, Sydney.) </li></ul>
    17. 17. Evidence Based Librarianship <ul><li>Evidence Based Library and Information Practice (EBLIP) seeks to improve library and information services and practice by bringing together the best available evidence and insights derived from working experience, moderated by user needs and preferences. … It thus attempts to integrate user-reported , practitioner-observed and research-derived evidence as an explicit basis for decision-making. </li></ul><ul><li>Booth, A. (2006). Counting what counts: performance measurement and evidence-based practice. Performance Measurement and Metrics, 7 (2), 63-74. </li></ul>
    18. 18. All Too Familiar? <ul><li>How often have you seen this sort of message on a listserv: </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Does anyone out there know how to deal with problem x or y?’ </li></ul><ul><li>And the reply comes back: </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Yes, here at Diddly-Squat Library we had the same problem and we fixed it by doing yabba-dabba-doo.’ </li></ul><ul><li>And more often than not, the response is: </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Great – we’ll try the same thing and hope it works for us. Thanks so much.’ </li></ul><ul><li>Well, isn’t that careful, reflective and insightful professional practice! (Gorman 2004) </li></ul><ul><li>Gorman, G. E. (2004, April). Evidence-based information practice comes of age. Retrieved 23 August, 2005, from http://0-www.emeraldinsight.com.library.newcastle.edu.au/info/librarians/Information_Management/info_curves2.htm </li></ul>
    19. 19. Stages of EBLIP <ul><li>Formulate the question </li></ul><ul><li>Find the evidence </li></ul><ul><li>Critically appraise the evidence </li></ul><ul><li>Apply the evidence </li></ul><ul><li>Evaluate impact and performance </li></ul><ul><li>Report findings </li></ul>
    20. 20. Formulate a Question Usability (as a determiner of effectiveness) Evaluation E Original site Comparison C Site improvements Intervention I Staff and students of the organisation Perspective P Library Services Intranet site Setting S
    21. 21. Focus the Question <ul><li>“ What improvements to the current Library intranet site should be made to improve usability for the staff and students of the organisation?” </li></ul>Cotter, L., Harije, L., Lewis, S. & Tonnison, I. 2006. Adding SPICE to a library intranet site: a recipe to enhance usability. Evidence Based Library and Information Practice 1, (1): 3-25.
    22. 22. Finding the Evidence <ul><li>User-reported – brief online survey </li></ul><ul><li>Librarian-observed – usability testing </li></ul><ul><li>Research-derived – literature search </li></ul>
    23. 23. Appraise the Evidence <ul><li>We appraised </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Quality of article </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Level of evidence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Contextual relevance </li></ul></ul><ul><li>We asked </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Is this a study we can use/adapt? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is the study valid/reliable/applicable? </li></ul></ul>
    24. 24. Apply the Evidence <ul><li>DIRECTLY </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Raward’s Usability Analysis Tool for library websites </li></ul></ul><ul><li>DERIVATION </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Usability testing </li></ul></ul><ul><li>CONDITIONALLY </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Research-Based Web Design & Usability Guidelines </li></ul></ul><ul><li>ENLIGHTENMENT </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Theoretical discussion, commentaries </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Examination of other sites </li></ul></ul>
    25. 25. Evaluate Impact <ul><li>Evaluating </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Our performance applying the EBL process </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Impact of changes made </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Disseminating </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Conference proceedings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Publication of project report </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>EBLIP journal from 2006 </li></ul></ul>
    26. 26. Libraries Using Evidence
    27. 27. What does EBLIP have to do with usability? <ul><li>“ Lollipop librarianship” tends to result in services and resources that are easy to use but not always useful </li></ul><ul><li>“ Broccoli librarianship” tends to result in services and resources that are useful but not always easy to use </li></ul><ul><li>Evidence based librarianship helps you achieve resources and services that are highly usable </li></ul>
    28. 28. Don’t be a Broccoli Librarian <ul><li>Dewey vs NLM </li></ul><ul><li>Two collections </li></ul><ul><li>Two classification schemes </li></ul><ul><li>Two runs of books </li></ul><ul><li>Too confusing!! </li></ul><ul><li>Solution – change classification scheme </li></ul>
    29. 29. Its OK to be a Lollipop Librarian <ul><li>Two clinical decision support tools </li></ul><ul><li>One evidence-based, one expert opinion </li></ul><ul><li>Librarians favoured the evidence-based product </li></ul><ul><li>Patron feedback indicated overwhelming preference for the expert opinion product </li></ul>
    30. 30. Enhancing Usability Using EBLIP <ul><li>Patron’s Choice Project – University of Alberta Libraries ( http://www.eblip4.unc.edu/ ) </li></ul><ul><li>Evidence-based collection management @ NSCCH </li></ul>
    31. 32. Evidence Based Collection Management
    32. 33. Chillout @ NSCCH <ul><li>A project to analyse book ILLs: </li></ul><ul><li>Is it more cost-effective to borrow a text several times on ILL or purchase it for the collection? </li></ul><ul><li>How do we keep track of the number of times a text has been requested on ILL? </li></ul><ul><li>Which option does the patron prefer – request an ILL or fast-track purchase? </li></ul>
    33. 34. Ann Arbor District Library Catalogue www.aadl.org/catalog
    34. 35. Thank you