Forthcoming in the Journal of Web Librarianship:
Note: full text for these articles will appear on the Taylor & Francis Informaworld platform in 2013. Preprints are available for All Access, Social Eyes, and web.tech.lib as Word documents, below.
web.tech.lib: Research support: The new mission for libraries
by Erik Mitchell
A Tale of Two Discoveries: Comparing the Usability of Summon and EBSCO Discovery Service
by Anita K. Foster and Jean B. MacDonald
Web-scale discovery systems are gaining momentum among academic libraries as libraries seek a means to provide their users with a one-stop searching experience. Illinois State University’s Milner Library found itself in the unique position of having access to two distinct discovery products, EBSCO’s EBSCO Discovery Service and Serials Solutions’ Summon. Two researchers at Milner conducted a usability study for the former product in 2010, and now two other researchers, including one involved with the EBSCO Discovery Service study, have conducted the same study on the latter product. The goals of the study were twofold: first, to identify user behavior while using discovery systems’ search features and to see whether using these features would improve the user’s searching experience, and second, to compare user experiences with EBSCO Discovery Service and Summon at Illinois State University. The similarities and differences in user expectations, use, manipulation, and satisfaction with both discovery tools are explored in this article, with the ancillary hope that libraries investigating discovery tools might be able to make a more thoroughly informed choice in acquiring their own Web-scale discovery system.
Beyond Failure: Potentially Mitigating Failed Author Searches in the Online Library Catalog through the use of Linked Data
by Heather Lea Moulaison and Susan Nicole Stanley
Linked data stores house vetted content that can supplement the information available through online library catalogs, potentially mitigating failed author searches if information about the author exists in linked data formats. In this case study, a total of 689 failed author index queries from a large Midwestern academic library’s online library catalog were re-run in seven linked data sources (Open Library, DBpedia, Freebase, New York Times Linked Open Data, NNDB, Virtual International Authorities File, and the Library of Congress Name Authorities), with 534 (78 percent) of the failed catalog queries yielding at least one hit in one of the repositories. Over half of the failed online library catalog queries examined were incorrectly formulated (n=369), implying that some searchers of online library catalogs are unclear about the mechanics of left-anchored searching in author indexes. As a first step in becoming part of the linked data information ecosystem, librarians should consider providing access to existing linked data stores through the online library catalog as a way of mitigating failed author searches for personal names. Librarians should also consider facilitating author searches by only permitting keyword searches of the author index, continuing to carefully maintain authority records for authors in their collections, and facilitating discovery and the explicit statement of relationships through the future use of linked data in library catalogs.
KEYWORDS: online library catalogs, failed queries, personal names, author searches, linked data, linked data repositories, case study
Usability Testing, User-Centered Design, and LibGuides Subject Guides: A Case Study
By Alec Sonsteby and Jennifer DeJonghe
Usability testing has become a routine way for many libraries to ensure that their Web presence is user-friendly and accessible. At the same time, popular subject guide creation systems, such as LibGuides, decentralize Web content creation and put authorship into the hands of librarians who may not be trained in user-centered design principles. At Metropolitan State University, we performed usability testing on our instance of LibGuides in order to see how our patrons interact with our guides. We completed two rounds of usability testing on a total of ten students, one alumnus, and one community patron. The results indicate that patrons struggled most when encountering jargon, inconsistent language, and visual clutter. Based on our findings, we recommend ongoing usability testing of subject guides as well as the creation of a style guide to help librarians create usable, accessible guides.
KEYWORDS: usability testing, user-centered design, subject guides, LibGuides, Web site design
Streamlining Data for Cross-Platform Web Delivery
By Sean Watkins, Jason Battles, and Rachel Vacek
Smartphone users expect the presentation of Web sites on their mobile browsers to look and feel like native applications. With the pressure on library Web developers to produce app-like mobile sites, there is often a rush to get a site up without considering the importance of reusing or even restructuring the data driving the Web sites. An additional challenge is the content maintenance required of any Web site, regardless of platform underscoring the advantage of pulling content from other systems to decrease redundancy. This article highlights case studies from two large research universities, examines how each one is streamlining its data for multiple Web-based platforms, and discusses how to work toward making data more flexible so that content is delivered from single source points rather than duplicated on individual delivery platforms.
KEYWORDS: academic libraries, Web site, data management, content management, API, platform, mobile
Usability Evaluation of a Research Repository and Collaboration Web site
By Tao Zhang, Deborah J. Maron, and Christopher C. Charles
This paper reports results from an empirical usability evaluation of HABRI (Human-Animal Bond Research Initiative) Central as part of the effort to develop an open access research repository and collaboration platform for human-animal bond researchers. By repurposing and altering key features of the original HUBzero system, HABRI Central hosts previously published materials from related disciplines and an extensive bibliography, in addition to traditional hub materials such as tools and datasets. Seven graduate students in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Purdue University participated in the usability evaluation. Tasks included exploring the system, finding an article in the repository, submitting an article to the repository, adding bibliographic information of an article to the repository, and using interaction features such as user groups. Participants also answered open questions regarding their overall experience and rated HABRI Central’s usability using the System Usability Scale (SUS). Response measures included task successfulness, navigational steps, task time, participant comments, and behavior notes recorded by the researcher. Results of the evaluation showed that the overall user experience of HABRI Central was satisfactory but also indicated a number of usability issues. Participants had difficulty inputting metadata such as resource type and author information when submitting an article to the repository. There were also interface design issues regarding layout and consistency. It is expected that findings from this study and the evaluation methodology can be extended to the development and evaluation of similar research repository systems.
KEYWORDS: research repository, usability evaluation, human-animal bond, HUBzero, open access, research collaboration, usability testing
The Structure of the Biblioblogosphere: An Examination of the Linking Practices of Institutional and Personal Library Blogs
By S. Craig Finlay, Carolyn Hank, Cassidy R. Sugimoto, and Michael Johnson
The biblioblogosphere is comprised of the institutional publication of blogs of libraries and the personal, professionally oriented publication of blogs by librarians. Since introduction of this neologism in 2004, a number of researchers have examined this particular class of bloggers and blogging. However, there is limited investigation into the structure and connectivity of blogs within the biblioblogosphere. This paper reports a study of interlinkage patterns within a sample of 1,606 biblioblogs. Findings suggest the biblioblogosphere conforms to the locally dense, globally sparse structure of blog networks established by previous studies of other blog types. The majority of blogs within the sample did not link to any other sampled blog. Those that did tended to cluster according to library type, blog subject, or geographical proximity. About one-third of the interlinked blogs were located within a single, massive component (that is, a networked group of blogs), while the rest were in smaller networks of two or three nodes. Personal biblioblogs, characterized as blogs published by individuals independently of an institution, are more likely to be located within a more densely populated network than institutional blogs. These findings indicate that “personal-professional” bibliobloggers are actively shaping the structure of the library blogosphere, while institutional blogs demonstrate much less overall connectivity.
KEYWORDS: weblogs, scholarly communication, webometrics, hyperlinks, library blogs, biblioblogs, networks, professional communication
Adopting Open Source Software: A Practical Guide
Brian Fitzgerald, Jay P. Kesan, Barbara Russo, Maha Shaikh, and Giancarlo Succi
Reviewed by Dena L. Luce
The Librarian as Information Consultant: Transforming Reference for the Information Age
Sarah Anne Murphy
Reviewed by Pam Howard
Information Literacy Beyond Library 2.0
Peter Godwin and Jo Parker, eds.
Reviewed by Joseph Grobelny
Information Need: A Theory Connecting Information Search to Knowledge Formation
Reviewed by Steven Chabot
The Librarian's Guide to Micropublishing: Helping Patrons and Communities Use Free and Low-Cost Publishing Tools to Tell their Stories
Reviewed by Bradford Lee Eden, Ph.D
Technology and the School Library
Odin L. Jurkowski
Reviewed by John Rodzvilla
The Journal of Web Librarianship is pleased to announce an upcoming specail issue on the topic of data-driven decision making for the library web, edited by Meris A. Mandernach.
Data-driven decision-making in the realm of library web sites is an emerging and ever-evolving goal for libraries of all types and sizes. As data becomes more available and easily accessible, the use of that data for decision making to support the user experience in online systems, discovery tools and websites is of the utmost importance. Though both qualitative and quantitative data should be used for informing decisions in libraries, this issue's scope will focus on quantitative data sources such as:
- Web analytics, including Google Analytics
- Log reports (search logs, system logs)
- Heat maps
- Vendor usage reports
- Third-party statistics and logs
- Public data from Twitter and other social sites
Additionally, this issue will focus on how data from the aboce sources is used to support decisions about all aspects of the library's virtual presence, including:
- Discovery tools
- Library websites
- Library systems
- Mobile sites and interfaces
Submissions should clearly state one or more research questions or, for more practical articles, a decision that was or will be supported by the data, and explain the type of data sources used.
Query letters and preliminary proposals are welcome any time if potential authors would like to discuss their ideas with the issue editor. Please submit queries and manuscripts to guest editor Meris Mandernach at email@example.com. Please refer to the JWL web site, http://www.lib.jmu.edu/org/jwl for Instructions for Authors.
Meris Mandernach is Head of Research Services at The Ohio State University Libraries. She has published numerous articles and book chapters on topics related to reference, usability testing, discovery systems, and chemistry information literacy.
Initial Manuscript Submission deadline: January 31, 2013
Notices to authors: April, 2013
Final Acceptance: June, 2013
Issue Publication: October, 2013