Library Committee Handbook

User Education Committee

March 11, 2013 Meeting

User Education Committee

University of Illinois Library

March 11, 2013


Library 428


Members Present:

Melody Allison (13)
Susan Avery (ex officio)
Merinda Hensley (ex officio)
Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe (ex officio) - Chair
Carissa Phillips (13)
Elizabeth Sheehan (13)
Mara Thacker (14)
Sandra Wolf (14)

Members Absent:

Mark Wardecker (14)

Also Attending:

Emma Clausen (Information Literacy GA)

1. Agenda Review

Lisa reviewed the agenda and asked committee members if there were any additional items to add. No additions were made.

Lisa shared that Ryan Ross left the University Library for another position. A replacement to carry out the appointment has been requested from the Executive Committee.

2. Acclamations and Accolades

Lisa noted that the E-Learning Specialist position is on the list of ranked positions for the Library Hiring Plan. This is the third year that a position proposal has been submitted and the first year that the position is on the hiring plan so this is welcome progress.

3. eResources and Instruction

The committee reviewed the customized Primo help documentation and discussed what changes might be made and whether additional materials are necessary. Committee members noted that they have either avoided using Primo for instructional purposes or covered its use only after demonstrating subject databases because it has not seemed useful to the student assignments. The committee will continue to explore how to use Primo in instructional settings. Mara shared that she may test existing assignments against the system for comparison. Reference transactions and use of Primo was also discussed. Committee members noted that they have personally encountered only a few users already using the Primo tool during a reference transaction.

The committee discussed known faculty perceptions of Primo and how, if at all, committee members had interacted with faculty regarding Primo. Committee members noted that faculty often prefer coverage of subject databases in library instruction and that Primo does not meet this need. Additionally, the committee discussed coverage of subject resources in Primo and how EasySearch better targets subject areas through the subject-specific portals.

The committee briefly discussed a recent thread on the ILI-L listserv that covered implementation of discovery services, its impact on instruction, and faculty perception and areas of dissatisfaction. Areas of faculty dissatisfaction discussed from the thread include volume and relevance of results in addition to coverage of subject databases. 

The committee briefly discussed usability study results and noted that undergraduate students generally like the Primo interface. Additionally, given interactions with search engines like Google they may not be fazed by large result sets; however, they are not able to retrieve a manageable or focused list of sources that is possible in databases like Academic Search Premier. The committee briefly discussed Barbara Fister’s blog post on discovery and finding value for undergraduates in large result sets.

The committee identified the following possible updates to the Primo help file:

  • Add the Primo help file under “Additional resources about Primo:” on the Primo homepage with a title similar to “How to use Primo”
  • Update “Save Your Queries” to “Save Your Searches” to reflect language most familiar to users
  • Update heading “What Can Primo do” to “What Can You do with Primo?”
  • Update Primo breadcrumb on help file (currently not functional) – users need a way to get back to the search screen
  • Links under “Additional resources about Primo:” on Primo homepage should open in a new tab
  • Update “Expand Your Search” to something similar to “Include I-Share Libraries, as the current title sounds more like a search strategy
  • Consider updating language of “Search Using Wildcard Characters” – same language used in databases, but is it clear to users? (“Broaden or Refine Your Search” was discussed)
  • Guidance for how to use the advanced search feature should be added

The committee also wondered about staying within the Primo interface for the additional resource pages and help documentation instead of creating pages in the CMS. Susan will convey the committee’s comments to Jenny Emanuel. Lisa encouraged committee members to look at implementations of Primo at other institutions.

The committee briefly discussed query structure, proximity, and how Primo uses Boolean operators and various metadata elements for retrieval. The committee also briefly discussed points of comparison with EasySearch and how that system is engineered to process queries.

Merinda shared that a group of those who provide reference services met to discuss Primo and the development of materials for use in reference interactions. Five areas of development were identified in the meeting, and Merinda hopes to start developing materials, such as web pages and videos, in the coming weeks to use for support while providing reference services and to share with users for further clarification. These materials could be added to the additional resources for Primo and will be linked off the Library LEARN site.

Connecting Users to Databases

The committee discussed Melody’s February 2, 2013 email to the committee concerning access to subject databases. The committee discussed how users previously accessed subject databases using the subject index in ORR. Although the subject index was replicated after the transition to SFX, the list of subject databases in the catalog is not comprehensive and requires several clicks to enter a database. Committee members agreed to review how other institutions are handling subject database discovery in preparation for a more in-depth discussion next month. The committee noted that some institutions use MetaLib by ExLibris.

4. Continuing Education

Spring Information Literacy Workshop Planning

The committee continued the conversation from last month’s meeting. The committee plans to schedule workshops and sessions on instruction technologies led by librarians on campus. The committee discussed topics including clickers and Blackboard Collaborate. Committee members noted that some instructional technologies, like Camtasia, would be better suited for smaller training sessions outside of the Information Literacy workshop event, given the time-intensive commitment for the creation process.

Article Discussion at User Education Committee Meetings

The committee discussed the idea for a recurring agenda item to discuss articles related to instruction. Various ways for implementing such a practice and structuring the discussion were addressed. The committee decided instead to consider a standing “open call” for articles and other relevant posts related to instruction. Committee members who would like to discuss articles will email Lisa before the monthly meeting to add the discussion item to the agenda.

Submitted by Emma Clausen