This week, I’ve been helping the head of collection management at my library figure out if we can make a change in the way we make our ebook collections discoverable. For many years, when we’ve bought ebook packages, we would go to the vendors website, download the MARC records, tweak them a bit in MarcEdit, and then get them uploaded into our catalog so they could be found along with our print…
Pull quote: “It’s hard to know what makes a social media platform work for a group of people who come together in a community. It’s clearly not the infratructure itelf. The two FriendFeed rooms I participated in regularly used the affordances of the platform very differently. It really is the people and the way they develop a common identity through individual practices (choosing what to post and how to respond), a means of welcoming new members and celebrating membership, and the indirect development of group norms.”
Pull quote: “We believe that our reluctance to answer the question why and our over-reliance on answering the questions how many and how often is crippling our ability to effectively deepen our understanding of the profession and communicate our value. While increases in user satisfaction levels, higher reported grade point averages, and improved reference statistics are certainly important metrics for measuring the effect of library services, by additionally answering why and how the library impacts these areas, we can dig more deeply into these determinants of student success and satisfaction to discover more than mere correlation.”
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Pull quote: “The idea of a librarian as an academic expert who is available to talk about assignments and hold their hands through the research process is, in fact, foreign to most students. Those who even have the word “librarian” in their vocabularies often think library staff are only good for pointing to different sections of the stacks.”
Pull quote: “The question is whether we should spend all available resources to purchase an ever-decreasing fraction of what the current system demands. In just six years, despite budget increases, my library’s purchasing power has fallen by 22 percent. Should we spend our entire acquisitions budget on 78 percent of what we could afford six years ago? Should we spend the same 100 percent on what we know will purchase only 73 percent next year, and 68 percent the year after? Should we empty the kitty each year in pursuit of smaller and smaller returns?”
Pull quote: “The index-based discovery arena currently has four strong commercial competitors. The number o fviable alternatives for resource management systems for academic libraries may be even narrower. The interest and motivation for the library community to pursue an open access and open source alternative
in the index-based discovery service arena would need to be driven by high levels of dissatisfaction with
the current products, pricing considered unreasonable, lack of innovation, or other similar factors.”
Pull quote: “The most common reason people give for not talking to users is that ‘users don’t know what they want.’ While that’s sometimes true, it’s not a good reason for not talking to them. It’s just a good reason for not asking them to tell you exactly what they want.
Instead, ask people about their problems. Ask them to tell you stories about how they use other products and how they make buying decisions. Ask them when they use specific products. Is it on the train? In the car? At their desks? At work? Ask them about their lives.
Users may not be great at telling you what new product they’re definitely going to use, but they’re great at telling you about themselves, and that is a very good thing for you to understand if you’re making a product for them.”