Library Student Resource Group May 9 2012

Present: Adreanne Breton, Chris Dunlap, Charles Kargman, Yongkwang Kim, Evan Kuehn, Christina McClernon, Wilson Miu, Rick Moore, Julia Sizek, Fieyang Sun (proxy for Samantha Lee), Zhui Wang
From the Library: Judi Nadler (chair), David Bietila, Rachel Rosenberg, Rebecca Starkey, Jim Vaughan

Guest: David Bietila, Web Program Director

Catalog User Stories

(introduced by David Bietila)

The Library is actively involved in developing Kuali OLE, an open-source integrated library system that will replace Horizon, the Library's current system that manages our catalog, circulation, and other library functions. Unlike Horizon, which supplies both a "back-end" system for information management and a "front-end" user interface (HIP, or the Library Catalog), the Kuali OLE project solely focuses on the back-end -- the choice of user interface is left up to the implementing library. Both HIP and Aquabrowser (the technology underlying Lens) have been declared "end-of-life" by their vendors, so using one of our existing catalog interfaces isn't an option for Kuali OLE. Consequently, the Library needed to choose a new interface for our catalog.

A group of Library staff conducted a two-part investigation. The first part evaluated products that could potentially serve as a front-end to Kuali OLE. We ultimately chose (and are implementing) VuFind, in use at several libraries including Brown University Library and HathiTrust. The second part of the investigation identified user stories: statements of user needs, that would allow us to develop solutions to meet these needs and prioritize programming tasks. We collected user stories by reviewing past library surveys, usability studies and existing comments from patrons about the catalog as well as conducting 20 interview sessions of individual users and groups.

During the interviews, we tried to touch on six topics related to the catalog: context of use (what kind of research problems/questions led to use of the catalog), preferred searching/browsing modes, design of search results, limits and refinements, use of catalog records, and integration of the catalog with other research tools. Ultimately we collected 210 requirements from the user stories. These stories can be broadly categorized:


Some frequently-mentioned stories concerned existing functionality (that users wanted to retain in a new interface), while other popular stories requested functionality not yet available in the Library Catalog or Lens. Some of the most frequently noted stories included:

We also found that patrons use the catalog in two broad ways: as a discovery tool, to narrow/focus a general topic down to specific literature, and (second) precision retrieval to quickly identify whether the Library has access to a particular title or to search across a precisely defined point in the collection. This latter group, which included many interviewed faculty, stressed the importance of multiple search options, the transparency of the underlying search mechanism and relevancy ranking, and keeping the Library of Congress Subject Headings visible.

Our design goals for the new catalog interface include:

We'd like your input throughout the design process, and are considering a listserv (that interested students could sign up for), a dedicated focus group, and/or ad-hoc recruiting (as we did for this study). Any initial comments or feedback?

Regenstein Collections Rearrangement

The opening of Mansueto and the subsequent transfer of material from the Regenstein bookstacks in summer 2011 created large blocks of unevenly distributed free space in the stacks. Since fall 2011 we've had a moving company from Connecticut shifting Regenstein books to distribute free space. We also took this opportunity to reorganize the collections. We looked at four proposed models for the bookstacks: two models ("top down" and "bottom up") that basically arranged the stacks A-Z, and two that grouped LC classes according to subject. Using on circulation and reshelving data, we tried to find a model that caused the least inconvenience for heavily used materials. (Unfortunately there was no ideal solution.)

We settled on a subject-based arrangement, as follows:

Once the movers leave, we hope to put more tables in the B-Level around the perimeter of the floor to facilitate easier consultation of materials. We appreciate your patience as the move continues through finals week.

One LSRG member asked if the movers could suspend work during finals week, or only work on certain floors? Could we also offer disposable earplugs for patrons?  Jim replied that we've talked to the movers about suspending particularly noisy work (like disassembling/reassembling shelves) during this time, but we also want the moving company to finish its work. Earplugs are an excellent idea.

Some LSRG members commented about the B-Level being an impediment to using materials: the shelves often get "stuck", and where would new consultation tables be placed? Judi and Jim replied that the tables would take the place of the old card catalog, and that after the moving company leaves we can get the shelves inspected.

A-Level Planning

The Regenstein collections move, currently in progress, is using the A-Level as swing space. Once the move finishes in the summer, we plan to remove the bookcases and return tables and chairs to the A-Level for patron use. We aren't doing much remodeling (at this point) of this floor, but if there are things you'd particularly like to see please let us know.

Will the A-Level be 24-hour space as it was in the past? LSRG members noted that the A-Level has cubicles, which would reduce the noise on the first floor, and it would be nice to have both quiet and collaborative spaces open 24 hours. However, at this point there are no plans to make the A-Level open 24 hours; the first floor continues to be the (only) 24-hour study space in Regenstein.

Strategies for Student Outreach

How could the Library better reach out to students, especially incoming students? LSRG members had the following suggestions:

Note that during O-Week (especially), students aren't thinking about the Library. That being said, having Library workshops during first week isn't great either, because once classes start people get super-busy.

The Library is considering establishing a Facebook presence. What do you think of this idea? Any suggestions?

Other Matters

One LSRG member asked: why are the private study rooms in Mansueto always locked? Jim replied that  the rooms are meant for users who are using Mansueto materials intensively, or to use ILL books that are building use only. Could we just open them if they aren't being used, asked another LSRG member. Jim noted that we're afraid people would arrive and 8am and just "hold" the room all day.

Our next LSRG meeting will be in Autumn 2012. Have a great summer!