How college students *really* do research – findings from recent studies

We hear a lot about how college students “only search in Google these days” or “never look past the first page of results.”   How true are such commonly held assumptions?  Are they supported by recent examinations of student research behaviors?  For answers, I looked at seven studies published within the last three years.  Here is what…

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Usable Library of the Week – University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

This week’s usable library is: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign What I like: Site recently redesigned – big improvement over their previous site! Library Technology shows available items at a glance – from flash drives to dry erase board accessories Libraries and Hours display what libraries are currently open Search tool returns “bento-box” like results…

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Usable Library of the Week – University of Minnesota

This week’s usable library is: University of Minnesota Library What I like: Minimal space on home page devoted to marketing, leaving more room for user services Right sidebar on home page with direct links to courses and popular  databases, as well as A-Z lists Point-of-need help embedded throughout the site, and presented in user-friendly, easily…

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Why library websites should not be designed by committee – Reblog of “The Ugly Truth About Library Websites”

I just read this post by M. Ryan Hess from 2013 and found it well worth a reblog: The Ugly Truth About Library Websites Hess points out that the poor usability of  library websites is often due to how they are created: by committees of  librarians, with little or no usability training, who are under…

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Putting the user first – a book review

This recent ALA publication belongs on every librarian’s “must read” shelf: Putting the User First: 30 Strategies for Transforming Library Services By Courtney Greene McDonald Publisher:  ACRL Date: August, 2014 ISBN: 978-0-8389-8732-2 Don’t be fooled by the size of this book (7 inches, 104 pgs): it is jam packed with practical advice.  McDonald provides 30 strategies…

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Usable Library of the Week – MIT Library

This week’s usable library is: MIT Libraries What I like: Their homepage: recently redesigned!  See before here.  Updated look, good mobile functionality, and more intuitive menus.   LibGuides and research assistance is prominent on the homepage: “Research Guides and Experts” E-Resource troubleshooting page

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Top 5 problems with library websites – a review of recent usability studies

What are the most common UX problems with academic library websites and library tools?  I looked at 16 studies conducted over the past two years, and here is what I learned: What does that mean?  Library jargon This was by far the most cited problem: 10 out of 16 studies reported library jargon.  Not surprising,…

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Usable Library of the Week – Whittier College

This week’s usable library is: Whittier College   What I like: Intuitive home page Finding full text articles visually explains how to read an article Services and support page is clearly divided into student and faculty menus

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Journals, articles, and databases: Guiding users through the e-resource maze

My library recently launched a new user-friendly journals page.  This page (which I did not create – credit goes to my talented colleagues!) is a great improvement over the previous design.  It has started me thinking about some of the challenges libraries face when providing e-resource access points. Academic library web sites usually have pages labeled…

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Usable Library of the Week – Montana State University

This week’s usable library is: Montana State University   What I like: Simple, understandable home page design:  “Find” “Request” and “Services” Jargon-free: ILL is under “Request” Articles page subjects list: “I want to do research in…”

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