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:

Comments: 6

Jun 12, 2009
Erica Reynolds

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: www.jocolibrary.org/usability.

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.

Jun 12, 2009
rich traube

I'm just thinking out loud. Wouldn't it be nice if the library community came up with some DTDs for usability studies?

Jun 17, 2009
Lorcan Dempsey

Erica, I believe we will be making some worldcat local usability studies available.

Jun 17, 2009
Erica Reynolds

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.

Jun 21, 2009
Lorcan Dempsey

Erica, check out Arnold Arcolio's presentation at

http://www.oclc.org/programs/events/2009-06-03e.pdf

Jul 08, 2009
Erica Reynolds

That's great--thanks Lorcan--I'm also looking forward to the webinars this weekend from ALA. Thanks for sending the PDF link!