The projects listed below are from various library units and the Library Assessment Working Group is not directly involved in many of them.
Investigators: Library Assessment Working Group
Summary: The Library Assessment Working Group is investigating the desirability and feasibility of using the IDEALS repository as a clearinghouse for assessment efforts and data. While IDEALS' collection development policy does allow the submission of data sets, possible issues include requiring data sets to meet minimal reliability standards (i.e. is the methodology transparent enough that other projects could repeat the assessment program?) and to provide enough contextual information to make interpretation and comparison possible.
Summary: The GPO is running two separate surveys to evaluate the use of FDLP libraries, the accessibility of government information online, completeness of collections, and users' perceptions of both print and online government documents. The first survey is accessible at this link: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/HSLCRRB.
Summary: The LAWG Graduate Assistant has been developing "macro" programs which operate out of Microsoft Excel to ease the burden of processing customized data fields in Desk Tracker, including the library-specific Room Count forms which several libraries utilize as well as the more universal Gate Count fields. These macros should enable librarians to assess traffic and use of space patterns at their locations. An example outcome could be discovering insufficient numbers of outlets for laptops, seats, or scanners in a particular space.
Investigators: Tina Chrzastowski
Summary: The Chemistry Library is soliciting feedback from users by means of a survey handed to patrons in the library. The survey asks questions about use of the physical space, use of print collections, why patrons came to the Chemistry Library, and what other library they would use instead.
Investigator: Kirstin Dougan
Summary: Budget and staffing challenges as well as increased call for assessment and evaluation are affecting academic music libraries. In addition, patron needs and expectations are evolving and more of our collections are migrating online. How do we know that the services we offer are meeting our patrons' needs? This paper looks at assessment in general and WOREP and the READ Scale and how they can be used in music libraries.
Investigator: Kirstin Dougan
Summary: The nature of music collections and their use means that patrons have always required specialized guidance from librarians to access what they need. Currently, library patrons' expectations are growing as collections and their delivery modes evolve. Music reference services must adapt to effectively address these needs. This article examines the challenges to delivering effective music reference service, the basics of reference assessment, and how assessment models such LibQual+, the Wisconsin-Ohio Reference Evaluation Program, and the Reference Effort Assessment Data Scale can help librarians build patron-centered music reference services.
Investigators: Eric Phetteplace (GA)
Summary: In an attempt to standardize the way in which various Desk Tracker fields are interpreted by disparate library units, the Assessment Website is hosting a series of documents which provide definitions and examples for commonly used features (URI: http://www.library.illinois.edu/assessment/desktracker.html). Currently, there are documents related to the Description, Patron Type, RRGIS-This Question is About, and Referred to Specialist fields. While libraries are encouraged to develop their own unique forms, it would aid cross-unit comparisons and reduce training redundancies to have a one-stop repository for fields used in multiple locations.
Summary: While current Desk Tracker forms can provide information on the length and subject of reference interactions, these are weak and inaccurate proxies for question complexity. The READ Scale, developed by Bella Gerlich of Dominican University, ranks questions on a 1-to-6 scale based on the sophistication and knowledge required to answer a question. A pilot project of implementing this scale is being planned, currently involving the Undergraduate Library and the Reference, Research, and Government Information Services department.
Summary: Using Fall 2010 semester Desk Tracker data collected at the Undergraduate Library and the Main Library's Information Desk (staffed by the Reference, Research, and Government Information Services department), this investigation is looking into the desirability of a virtual reference desk which would handle remote reference modes such as IM/Chat, SMS, and email. The Desk Tracker data has yielded a wealth of information on topics as such which times of day are busiest in which reference modes, which modes are preferred by which patron types, which patron types ask questions during certain times of day, and which question subjects come through which modes of communication.
Summary:Library Web sites must compete against easy-to-use sites, such as Google Scholar, Google Books, and Wikipedia, for students’ time and attention. Library Web sites must therefore be designed with aesthetics and user perceptions at the forefront. The Music and Performing Arts Library at Urbana-Champaign's Web site was overcrowded and in much need of a user-focused redesign. This article presents a usability study that compared participants’ use of the old site versus the new site to determine if performance improved on the redesigned site.
Summary: Study examining the LEARN site's (URI: http://www.library.illinois.edu/learn/) content and navigation. Currently being reviewed by IRB. The goal of this study is to determine how Illinois library users interact with LEARN portal webpages in order to make informed improvements to the site and increase the efficiency of site navigation.
Investigators: Jenny Emanuel
Summary: Ethnographic research on how different ages and demographics search for information differently. Will commence in November of 2010.
Investigators: Jim Hahn
Summary: Studied student usage of a mobile wayfinding application developed by Jim Hahn.
Summary: Currently involved in usability testing for current and future versions of the UGL home page (URI: http://www.library.illinois.edu/ugl/). A recent redesign included adding an IM/Chat widget on the UGL home page as well as images of recent acquisitions.
Summary: Interviewed twenty undergraduate students, mostly freshman and a few sophomores, and asked them to talk about and demonstrate how they engaged in doing research for a recent class assignment (among many other things). The study undertook an initial analysis of the data to establish a model of information seeking behavior for Illinois Undergraduate Students. Each of the investigators has been applying the findings to our own work (on the web and related to in person services). However, there is still some analysis to do to issue a full report.
Summary: IRB approval is in place and students will be brought in over the next few weeks to participate in some usability studies of the Library Gateway (URI: http://www.library.illinois.edu). First, students will be asked the same questions about the current and proposed new sites. Then the investigators will provide a comparative analysis of their use of and thoughts about both versions. There will be three to four rounds for this study, and the prototype Gateway will be modified based on feedback from each iteration of users, and then new users will be given the opportunity to assess the each updated prototype.