Sharing usability results

I was interested to see that MIT Libraries have a public page with links to various usability results. I thought it was quite interesting, and that, while acknowledging some local flavor, it might be useful if more libraries shared results in this way.
More generally, we know that there are a lot of local user study activities the results of which would be of interest to others.
There was some discussion of the benefits of such sharing at the 2009 RLG Partnership Annual Symposium: Hearing voices: connecting with users, enhancing services. (Presentations available soon.)
Jim builds on that discussion in a post over on HangingTogether …

My screenagers aren’t fundamentally different from your screenagers. My graduate students aren’t fundamentally different from your graduate students. My students and faculty don’t do their work in a fundamentally different way then yours. My clients expectations and use of a local library catalog are not fundamentally different than yours. Why would we imagine that the willingness to go beyond the first page of results in a catalog search is going to differ by institution? If we can accept that there is a system-wide relevance to these studies then we are well on the way to a shareable profile of our different client segments (academic/public, undergrad/graduate, casual user, etc.). We’re well along on having a broad foundation on which to do further work that is more closely aligned with the distinctive services and impact that the library can have. [HangingTogether]

He goes on to make some interesting remarks about understanding users and their desire to connect with each other.
Related entries:

6 thoughts on “Sharing usability results”

  1. I heartily agree! I would love it if LITA had a usability group–if anyone starts that or knows of a group that focuses on usability, please post it here. At the Johnson County Library (KS), we post our usability results, metholodogies and study docs at:
    Does OCLC post their usability study docs and results somewhere? Particularly the work that’s been done on worldcatlocal? I see more universities running usability studies (or at least posting the results) than public libraries–but public libraries have so much to gain from running extensive studies with patrons and sharing those results with colleagues.

  2. Great!!! Lorcan–do you know where the usability studies might be posted? Will you alert us when they are shared?
    We are seriously considering WorldCat Local as our catalog interface, and I would like to do studies with our patrons, but it would be nice to model some of our studies on the WorldCat previous studies to compare.

Comments are closed.