Library Committee Handbook

User Education Committee

May 12, 2008 Meeting

User Education Committee
University of Illinois Library

May 12, 2008

Library 428

Members Present

Members Absent

Also attending

1. Remaining Meetings for 2007-2008 (All in Library 428)

2. CLIR Faculty Research Behavior Workshop (Robert Slater)

Robert attended a CLIR workshop on conducting ethnographical research to understand faculty research behavior (along with JoAnn Jacoby from the Education and Social Science Library) and reported to the committee on what he learned.The CLIR workshop focused on teaching participants to do ethnographic research on library users - specifically on how to be better observers of faculty users. This type of study would be very useful for an organization or group charged with redesigning a library's physical or virtual space in order to make it more usable.One of the main points of the exercises at the workshop was that even if we think we have a good understanding of what our users do/need, some things they do become completely invisible to us because we see it every day. Workshop participants practiced observing without interpreting - all analysis took place after a period of observation.Robert reported on the following experience:

Ethnographic research has benefits for almost any project, but takes a great deal of time; however, putting in that front-end time can save time later in the creation of services, spaces, and web resources. You'll end up with something users actually NEED and will use.The way that we usually plan for services, spaces, and resources is to sit down with a committee tasked with a specific project. We ought to take a step back and consider user needs, etc., before starting on that specific project. The teams should include an anthropologist or a market researcher to draw up non-leading questions. Need about 20-25 users for interviews. Single interviewer and single camera-person. Video and voice recording is important. Screen captures can help, too. Have one person free from technology to do interview. No note-taking or analysis during interview - analysis takes place later. Group-view the video - so that personal biases don't come out as much. Watch videos together and discuss. Spend days farming out videos for individual responses. Most important things learned about faculty research habits:

Let's move beyond anecdotal research! That type of observation tends to reinforce our own biases.

3. Unit Report on Student Learning Assessment

A draft of the unit plan for assessing and improving student learning was handed out to the committee by Lisa. (N.B. It was an incomplete draft - not complete.) Not all examples that were submitted will be used. Committee members made some suggestions for revisions and additions.The format of the document is problematic so it has been adapted to work for library use.We brainstormed this question: What future plans do we have for developing assessment over the next decade?

4. Working Group Update -- LibGuides

Respectfully submitted,

Melissa Bowles-Terry