Library News

Providing Access through GIS Data at Avery Library

LITA Blog - Fri, 2016-07-29 10:00

Technological advances can have a variety of effects on access to information. New technologies can change the breadth, depth, and sheer amount of information we can readily consume. They can also fundamentally change the way in which we organize and access that information. One example is the way in which the use geolocation coordinates (also knows as GIS data) as an access tool has changed in the last decade or so.

While I was working at the Avery Library of Architectural and Fine Arts I was part of a concerted effort to explore the possibilities that GIS data offers for providing access to and context for collections. This is a brief look at three different projects that highlight different ways in which the same basic data can be used to change the way in which a library user interacts with a collection.

 

The New York Real Estate Brochures (NYRE) Collection

The NYRE project is a look at a collection of over 9,200 individual pieces of real estate promotional materials from the greater NYC area, starting in the 1920s and ending in the 1970s. It was launched in 2010 and is a valuable resource for researchers interested in trends in NYC real estate development, and the first project at Avery to include geolocation as an active component of the discovery process.

The collection consists of over 9,200 advertising brochures, floor plans, price lists, and related materials that document residential and commercial real estate development in the five boroughs of New York and outlying vicinities from the 1920s to the 1970s.

For this project, GIS coordinate information was added to the bibliographic record and then used to tag each object as being part of a neighborhood. Researchers then have the option to filter the collection by neighborhood, and the interface plots all of the materials tagged to a particular neighborhood on a map. The data is being used to section the collection into areas of potential research interest, and then to show how items of a specific designation interact geographically with one another.

 

Built Works Registry

The Built Works Registry was launched in 2014 as an attempt to create a geolocation authority control resource for works of architecture around the world. The project brings together data from forty-two different sources to form a single data entity that provides a point of reference for a building’s geographical location, similar to the function provides by the ISBN/ISSN standards. If you are interested in learning more about how the project came together feel free to check out the project blog.

Wy is this resource important? Building names and associations can and do change (for example, did you know that the New York Waldorf Astoria Hotel changed locations in the late 1920s?). I was briefly involved in the data validation effort for this project, and I can tell you from first hand experience that identifying a structure from its name or other descriptive information can be a difficult task. However, including the BWR identifier in your dataset lets users know exactly what building is being described.

 

Seymour B. Durst Old York Library 

The Old York Library project was what I worked on for most of my tenure at Avery, a collection of over 40,000 objects related in one way or another to New York City. Collection materials span over 200 years (from the late 16th century into the late 20th), and cover a variety of topics and subject matter, including politics, economics, art, special events, and real estate development and the built environment. The only thread joining all of these items together is their relationship to NYC.

Because the collection focus was geographic in nature, we decided to include geographic information (neighborhood, street address, GIS coordinates) about an item’s subject matter, and to use that data to develop a map-based discovery tool, giving users of the site a spatial discovery tool to go along with more traditional text-based searches. This approach puts special emphasis on where something took place, and gives users an intuitive, “physical” interface to relate that something to other collection materials based on their location.

 

The main lesson I learned while working on these projects was about the versatility of tools. All of these projects basically use the same GIS data; what varies is the purpose to which the data is put, based on the different perceived needs of each project’s target audience. There is no single way of providing access to a collection, just a set of tools that librarians can use in whatever way they believe best fits the user’s information needs.

Categories: Library News

Daughters of the bride /

New At the Library - Fri, 2016-07-29 08:36

    ISBN: 9780373789719
    Author: Mallery, Susan


Categories: Library News

Miss Jane : a novel /

New At the Library - Thu, 2016-07-28 08:35

    ISBN: 9780393241730
    Author: Watson, Brad, 1955-


Categories: Library News

Searching made easier - Westchester Library System catalog now searchable on popular search engines

Library Technology Reports - Wed, 2016-07-27 23:34
(July 27, 2016). Patrons using popular search engines, like Google, Bing, Siri and Yahoo, can find library item records in search engine results when searching for a title and including Westchester Library System. This new tool makes items in the online catalog more readily accessible to patrons in their homes or on mobile devices at their convenience, without requiring a visit to the library website to search for an item. Over time, patron use will help to improve Westchester Library System's relevance in search engine results. The increase in relevance means that engines will be able to deliver library catalog records without requiring that Westchester Library System be included in the search. Eventually simple title searches will pair a searcher's geo-location with result data and identify local libraries with the desired item.
Categories: Library News

Jobs in Information Technology: July 27, 2016

LITA Blog - Wed, 2016-07-27 15:09

New vacancy listings are posted weekly on Wednesday at approximately 12 noon Central Time. They appear under New This Week and under the appropriate regional listing. Postings remain on the LITA Job Site for a minimum of four weeks.

New This Week

Cooperative Computer Services, Executive Director, Arlington Heights, IL

New York University Division of Libraries, Digital Production Editor, New York, NY

Visit the LITA Job Site for more available jobs and for information on submitting a job posting.

Categories: Library News

Fargo Public Library goes live on ByWater Solutions Koha support

Library Technology Reports - Wed, 2016-07-27 14:33
(July 27, 2016). ByWater Solution announced that the Fargo Public Library of Fargo, North Dakota is now live on their Koha open source integrated library system.
Categories: Library News

LibrariesWest Consortium goes live with SirsiDynix Symphony and SaaS

Library Technology Reports - Wed, 2016-07-27 11:33
(July 27, 2016). In July of last summer, the LibrariesWest consortium grew to incorporate two new local authorities and achieve a ‘coast to coast' service in South West England. As part of the evolution of LibrariesWest, the consortium concurrently chose to adopt SirsiDynix Symphony as their new library management system. Following a seamless migration, all authorities in the LibrariesWest Consortium are now live with Symphony and Enterprise.
Categories: Library News

Ex Libris Alma, Primo, and Rosetta go live at Australia's State Library of New South Wales

Library Technology Reports - Wed, 2016-07-27 08:32
(July 27, 2016). Ex Libris announced that the State Library of New South Wales in Australia has gone live with the Ex Libris Alma library management service, Primo discovery and delivery, and Rosetta digital asset management and preservation. With these three solutions, the library now offers its large user community a world-class discovery experience.
Categories: Library News

Killer look : a novel /

New At the Library - Wed, 2016-07-27 08:32

    ISBN: 9780451484123
    Author: Fairstein, Linda A.


Categories: Library News

The angels' share : a Bourbon kings novel /

New At the Library - Wed, 2016-07-27 08:32

    ISBN: 9780451475282
    Author: Ward, J. R., 1969-


Categories: Library News

Killer look /

New At the Library - Wed, 2016-07-27 08:32

    ISBN: 9781101984017
    Author: Fairstein, Linda A.


Categories: Library News

Outfoxed /

New At the Library - Wed, 2016-07-27 08:32

    ISBN: 9781427272478
    Author: Rosenfelt, David


Categories: Library News

Truly madly guilty :

New At the Library - Wed, 2016-07-27 08:32

    ISBN: 9781250069818
    Author: Moriarty, Liane


Categories: Library News

All is not forgotten /

New At the Library - Wed, 2016-07-27 08:32

    ISBN: 9781250097941
    Author: Walker, Wendy, 1967-


Categories: Library News

LYRASIS receives $850,000 award from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to continue support for CollectionSpace

Library Technology Reports - Tue, 2016-07-26 17:30
(July 26, 2016). LYRASIS has been awarded a grant in the amount of $850,000 from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support ongoing development and sustainability planning for CollectionSpace, an open source collections management tool for museums. This award will allow LYRASIS and the CollectionSpace community to continue to strengthen the application and the community's efforts to create a sustainable open source collections management system for the benefit of museums and other collecting organizations.
Categories: Library News

Ingram Introduces Ingram Academic Services

Library Technology Reports - Tue, 2016-07-26 14:30
(July 26, 2016). Ingram Content Group through Ingram Publisher Services announces the launch of Ingram Academic Services, a service customized for university presses and academic publishers. The first joint initiative following Ingram's acquisition of Perseus' distribution businesses, Ingram Academic Services offers distinguished resources, tools and services to help university presses and academic publishers fulfill their missions.
Categories: Library News

SPLASH Consortium joins LINK+ resource sharing network to strengthen community access to information

Library Technology Reports - Tue, 2016-07-26 14:30
(July 26, 2016). Innovative Interfaces announced that the Solano Partner Libraries and St. Helena (SPLASH) Consortium in California will join the LINK+ network, powered by Innovative's resource sharing technology. SPLASH joins sixty other academic, public, and special libraries that are part of the LINK+ network, connecting borrowers to new collections with faster delivery than traditional interlibrary loan services. Providing access to information is the mission of the consortium, and LINK+ offers a powerful, efficient, and cost-effective way for SPLASH to instantly connect customers to more than eight million additional titles without having to invest in new materials.
Categories: Library News

Altoona Area Public Library Joins SPARK

Equinox Blog - Tue, 2016-07-26 13:21

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Duluth, Georgia–July 26, 2016

Equinox is proud to announce that Altoona Area Public Library was added to SPARK, the Pennsylvania Consortium overseen by PaILS.  Equinox has been providing full hosting, support, and migration to PaILS since 2013.  In that time, SPARK has seen explosive growth.  As of this writing, 105 libraries have migrated or plan to migrate within the next year.  Over 3,000,000 items have circulated in 2016 to over 550,000 patrons.  We are thrilled to be a part of this amazing progress!

Altoona went live on June 16.  Equinox performed the migration and also provided training to Altoona staff.  They are the first of 8 libraries coming together into the Blair County Library System.  This is the first SPARK migration where libraries within the same county are on separate databases and are merging patrons and coming together to resource share within a unified system.  Altoona serves 46,321 patrons with 137,392 items.

Mary Jinglewski, Equinox Training Services Librarian, had this to say about the move:  “I enjoyed training with Altoona Area Public Library, and I think they will be a great member of the PaILS community moving forward!”

About Equinox Software, Inc.

Equinox was founded by the original developers and designers of the Evergreen ILS. We are wholly devoted to the support and development of open source software in libraries, focusing on Evergreen, Koha, and the FulfILLment ILL system. We wrote over 80% of the Evergreen code base and continue to contribute more new features, bug fixes, and documentation than any other organization. Our team is fanatical about providing exceptional technical support. Over 98% of our support ticket responses are graded as “Excellent” by our customers. At Equinox, we are proud to be librarians. In fact, half of us have our ML(I)S. We understand you because we *are* you. We are Equinox, and we’d like to be awesome for you. For more information on Equinox, please visit http://www.esilibrary.com.

About Pennsylvania Integrated Library System

PaILS is the Pennsylvania Integrated Library System (ILS), a non-profit corporation that oversees SPARK, the open source ILS developed using Evergreen Open Source ILS.  PaILS is governed by a 9-member Board of Directors. The SPARK User Group members make recommendations and inform the Board of Directors.  A growing number of libraries large and small are PaILS members.

For more information about about PaILS and SPARK, please visit http://sparkpa.org/.

About Evergreen

Evergreen is an award-winning ILS developed with the intent of providing an open source product able to meet the diverse needs of consortia and high transaction public libraries. However, it has proven to be equally successful in smaller installations including special and academic libraries. Today, over 1400 libraries across the US and Canada are using Evergreen including NC Cardinal, SC Lends, and B.C. Sitka.

For more information about Evergreen, including a list of all known Evergreen installations, see http://evergreen-ils.org.

Categories: Library News

Stop Helping! How to Resist All of Your Librarian Urges and Strategically Moderate a Pain Point in Computer-Based Usability Testing

LITA Blog - Tue, 2016-07-26 10:00

Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Jaci Paige Wilkinson.

Librarians are consummate teachers, helpers, and cheerleaders.  We might glow at the reference desk when a patron walks away with that perfect article or a new search strategy.  Or we fist pump when a student e-mails us at 7pm on a Friday to ask for help identifying the composition date of J.S. Bach’s BWV 433.  But when we lead usability testing that urge to be helpful must be resisted for the sake of recording accurate user behavior (Krug, 2000). We won’t be there, after all, to help the user when they’re using our website for their own purposes.

What about when a participant gets something wrong or gets stuck?  What about a nudge? What about a hint?  No matter how much the participant struggles, it’s crucial for both the testing process and the resulting data that we navigate these “pain points” with care and restraint.  This is  particularly tricky in non-lab, lightweight testing scenarios.  If you have only 10-30 minutes with a participant or you’re in an informal setting, you, as the facilitator, are less likely to have the tools or the time to probe an unusual behavior or a pain point (Travis, 2014).  However, pain points, even the non-completion of a task, provide insight.  Librarians moderating usability testing must carefully navigate these moments to maximize the useful data they provide.  

How should we move the test forward without helping but also without hindering a participant’s natural process?  If the test in question is a concurrent think-aloud protocol, you, as the test moderator, are probably used to reminding participants to think out loud while they complete the test.  Those reminders sound like “What are you doing now?”, “What was that you just did?”, or “Why did you do that?”.  Drawing from moderator cues used in think aloud protocols, this article explains four tips to optimize computer-based usability testing in those moments when a participant’s activity slows, or slams, to a halt.

There are two main ways for the tips described below to come into play.  Either the participant specifically asks for help or you intervene because of a lack of progress.  The first case is easy because a participant self-identified as experiencing a pain point.  In the second case, identify indicators that this participant is not moving forward or they are stalling: they stay on one page for a period of time or they keep pressing the back button.  One frequently observed behavior that I never interfere with is when a participant repeats a step or click-path even when it didn’t work the first time.  This is a very important observation for two reasons: first, does the participant realize that they have already done this?  If so, why does the participant think this will work the second time?  Observe as many useful behaviors as possible before stepping in.  When you do step in, use these tips in this order:  

ASK a participant to reflect on what they’ve done so far!

Get your participant talking about where they started and how they got here.  You can be as blunt as: “OK, tell me what you’re looking at and why you think it is wrong”.  This particular tip has the potential to yield valuable insights.  What did the participant THINK they were going to see on the page and now what do they think this page is?  When you look at this data later, consider what it says about the architecture and language of the pages this participant used.  For instance, why did she think the library hours would be on “About” page?

Notice that nowhere have I mentioned using the back button or returning to the start page of the task.  This is usually the ideal course of action; once a user goes backwards through his/her clickpath he/she can make some new decisions.  But this idea should come from the user, not from you.  Avoid using language that hints at a specific direction such as “Why don’t you back up a couple of steps?”  This sort of comment is more of a prompt for action than reflection.         

Read the question or prompt again! Then ask the participant to pick out key words in what you read that might help them think of different ways to conquer the task at hand.

“I see you’re having some trouble thinking of where to go next.  Stop for one moment and listen to me read the question again”.  An immediate diagnosis of this problem is that there was jargon in the script that misdirected the participant.  Could the participant’s confusion about where to find the “religion department library liaison” be partially due to that fact that he had never heard of a “department library liaison” before?  Letting the participant hear the prompt for a second or third time might allow him to connect language on the website with language in the prompt.  If repetition doesn’t help, you can even ask the participant to name some of the important words in the prompt.   

Another way to assist a participant with the prompt is to provide him with his own script.  You can also ask him to read each task or question out loud: in usability testing, it has been observed that this direction “actually encouraged the “think aloud” process” that is frequently used” (Battleson et al., 2001). The think aloud process and its “additional cognitive activity changes the sequence of mediating thoughts.  Instructions to explain and describe the content of thought are reliably associated with changes in ability to solve problems correctly” (Ericsson & Simon, 1993).  Reading the prompt on a piece of paper with his own eyes, especially in combination with hearing you speak the prompt out loud, gives the participant multiple ways to process the information.

Choose a Point of No Return and don’t treat it as a failure.

Don’t let an uncompleted or unsuccessful task tank your overall test.  Wandering off with the participant will turn the pace sluggish and reduce the participant’s morale. Choose a point of no return.  Have an encouraging phrase at ready: “Great!  We can stop here, that was really helpful.  Now let’s move on to the next question”.  There is an honesty to that phrasing: you demonstrate to your participant that what he is doing, even if he doesn’t think it is “right” is still helpful.  It is an unproductive use of your time, and his, to let him continue if you aren’t collecting any more valuable data in the process.   The attitude cultivated at a non-completed task or pain point will definitely impact performance and morale for subsequent tasks.  

Include a question at the end to allow the participant to share comments or feelings felt throughout the test.

This is a tricky and potentially controversial suggestion.  In usability testing and user experience, the distinction between studying use instead of opinion is crucial.  We seek to observe user behavior, not collect their feedback.  That’s why we scoff at market research and regard focus groups suspiciously (Nielsen, 1999).  However, I still recommend ending a usability test with a question like “Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about your experience today?” or “Do you have any questions or further comments or observations about the tasks you just completed?”  I ask it specifically because if there was one or more pain points in the course of a test, a participant will likely remember it.  This gives her the space to give you more interesting data and, like with tip number three, this final question cultivates positive morale between you and the participant.  She will leave your testing location feeling valued and listened to.

As a librarian, I know you were trained to help, empathize, and cultivate knowledge in library users.  But usability testing is not the same as a shift at the research help desk!  Steel your heart for the sake of collecting wonderfully useful data that will improve your library’s resources and services.  Those pain points and unfinished tasks are solid gold.  Remember, too, that you aren’t asking a participant to “go negative” on the interface (Wilson, 2010) or manufacture failure, you are interested in recording the most accurate user experience possible and understanding the behavior behind it.  Use these tips, if not word for word, then at least to meditate on the environment you curate when conducting usability testing and how to optimize data collection.    

 

Bibliography

Battleson, B., Booth, A., & Weintrop, J. (2001). Usability testing of an academic library web site: a case study. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 27(3), 188-198.

Ericsson, K. A., & Simon, H. A. (1993). Protocol analysis.

Travis, David “5 Provocative Views on Usability Testing” User Focus 12 October 2014. <http://www.userfocus.co.uk/articles/5-provocative-views.html>

Nielsen, Jakob. “Voodoo Usability” Nielsen Norman Group 12 December 1999. <https://www.nngroup.com/articles/voodoo-usability/>
Wilson, Michael. “Encouraging Negative Feedback During User Testing” UX Booth 25 May 2010. <http://www.uxbooth.com/articles/encouraging-negative-feedback-during-user-testing/>

Categories: Library News

Call for Nominations: LITA Top Tech Trends Panel at ALA Midwinter 2017

LITA Blog - Mon, 2016-07-25 16:08

It’s that time of year again! We’re asking for you to either nominate yourself or someone you know who would be a great addition to the panel of speakers for the 2017 Midwinter Top Tech Trends program in Atlanta, GA.

LITA’s Top Trends Program has traditionally been one of the most popular programs at ALA. Each panelist discusses two trends in technology impacting libraries and engages in a moderated discussion with each other and the audience.

Submit a nomination at: http://bit.ly/lita-toptechtrends-mw2017.  Deadline is Sunday, August 28th.

The LITA Top Tech Trends Committee will review each submission and select panelist based on their proposed trends, experience, and overall balance to the panel.

For more information about past programs, please visit http://www.ala.org/lita/ttt.

Categories: Library News

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