Objective – The objective of the study is to increase the knowledge about what questions students ask at the library desk and what the purpose is of their use of the desk. Our focus has been on the physical meetings with the students. The aim is to contribute to the discussion on the future development of the library service desk.
Methods – We recorded questions asked at the desks to explore how students use the library service desks. The recording, where library staff sorted questions into predefined categories, took place over four weeks between the years 2017–2018.
Results – Our recording showed that 63% of the questions asked at the library service desks were about loan services, document delivery, and access to physical and electronic collections. Practical things such as opening hours, lost and found items, and the location of the group study rooms, accounted for 16% of questions. Questions about information technology (IT) made up 8% of questions. Finally, the results showed that 8% of the questions from the four weeks of counting were counselling and guidance questions, and 2% were about literature lists, reference management, and reference management tools. We found more questions about counselling and guidance in the spring weeks and more practical questions in the fall. We did not find any clear connection between the number of questions and the size of the branch libraries.
Conclusion – By conducting this study, we have learned more about why students use the library desk. Our study shows that students come to the library desk to ask about a lot more than just borrowing staples. The results from the study will inform the development of the library desk service going forward.
A Review of:
Logan, J., & Spence, M. (2021). Content strategy in LibGuides: An exploratory study. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 47(1), Article 102282. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acalib.2020.102282
Objective – To determine what strategies academic libraries use to govern creation and maintenance of their LibGuides.
Design – Online survey questionnaire.
Setting – A selection of academic libraries that use Springshare’s LibGuide system, mainly in the United States and Canada.
Subjects – Academic libraries with administrator level access to LibGuides at 120 large and small, private and public schools.
Methods – Researchers made their online questionnaire available on a Springshare lounge and recruited participants through electronic mailing lists. Respondents were self-selected participants. The survey consisted of 35 questions, including several about their institution’s size and type, the number of LibGuides available through their library, and how their guides are created and reviewed. There was space available for comments. The survey stated that the researchers’ goal is to complete an “environmental scan of content strategies” in LibGuides at academic institutions.
Main Results – Of the 120 responding institutions, 88% are located in either the United States or Canada and 53% reported that they do have content guidelines for LibGuide authors. Content guidelines might include parameters for topics, target audiences, or purpose. Parameters for structural elements, including page design, content reuse policies, naming conventions, and navigation, were most commonly represented at those institutions that reported having guidelines. Seventy-seven percent of respondents reported that their LibGuides do not go through a formal review process prior to publication.
Regarding LibGuide maintenance, 58% reported that LibGuides are reviewed as needed, while 27% indicated a more systematic approach. In most cases, the LibGuide reviewer is the author, though sometimes a LibGuide administrator may take on a review role. The most common considerations for LibGuide review are currency, accuracy, usage, and consistency. Of the responding institutions, 74% reported that they do not conduct any user testing of their guides.
Two of the biggest barriers to introducing and maintaining LibGuide guidelines identified in the survey were lack of time and a sense of librarian ownership over content and workflow. The strong culture of academic freedom may make some librarians resistant to following institutional guidelines. Survey respondents noted that, where content guidelines are present, they tend to address “low hanging fruit” issues, such as page design and naming conventions, rather than more complex issues around tone and messaging.
Conclusion – Content creators tend to have many competing priorities, so a workflow and guideline system might help librarians spend less time on their guides. Despite a large amount of research on LibGuide best practices regarding content strategy, few institutions seem to be taking systematic steps to implement them. Further research examining the experiences of LibGuide authors and administrators and on the effectiveness of content strategy practices is necessary.
A Review of:
Jowitt, A. (2008). Perceptions and usage of library instructional podcasts by staff and students at New Zealand’s Universal College of Learning (UCOL). Reference Services Review, 36(3), 312–336. https://doi.org/10.1108/00907320810895396
Objective – To examine usage of a specific set of library instructional podcasts and the potential of the format for effective library instruction.
Design – Concurrent mixed methods survey.
Setting – Multiple campuses at a polytechnic college in New Zealand.
Subjects – A total of 86 self-selected, non-random students and staff.
Methods – Web-based survey, piloted before a broader launch, with open and closed questions in one survey instrument (SurveyPro) regarding six sample podcasts accessible via the college’s library website. The researcher used closed questions to gather quantitative data with Likert and verbal frequency scales and used concurrent triangulation to ensure balance with qualitative open-ended question responses for proper later interpretation.
Main Results – Of the 86 participants in the study, 71.1% responded that the five library podcasts were “very good.” The study determined that the most useful podcast was called “My account” and helped students and staff activate and use their library accounts. Overall, students enjoyed the five library podcasts slightly more than staff. The orientation walking tour was the least popular podcast. The researchers hypothesized that this was because the podcast did not fit the users’ preferred medium, which was computer based. Even listeners who owned a portable media device preferred using a media player on their computer to access the podcasts. The participants preferred to listen to the podcasts during the day. The participants found that the 24/7 availability and the ability to listen to the material repeatedly were particularly helpful features.
Conclusion – Based on the research results, students and staff found library instructional podcasting advantageous because of its ease of access and constant availability. Some participants mentioned ways to improve the quality of the podcasts, but they found them to be an effective new medium overall. Additional research is needed to evaluate podcasts as an instructional medium.
Objective – The objective of this research was to identify the four professional competences of graduates in Library and Information Sciences and Technologies (LIST) considered most pertinent, from the points of view of students, teachers, and employers. We also sought to compare the perceptions of the different groups. The study was based on the premise that alignment of these perceptions may enhance the employability of LIST graduates.
Methods – A questionnaire, used and validated by Arias-Coello et al. (2014), was further translated by Martins and Carvalho (2018). The questionnaire consisted of a set of questions regarding four dimensions: Information Management; Communication and Interpersonal Relationships; Domain and Application of Information Technologies; Organization Management. We sent the survey by email to the target audience; it was available to complete in April and May 2018. Data analysis included calculating mean and standard deviation, as well as Shapiro Wilk normality tests, statistical tests for multiple comparisons, ANOVA, Kruskal Wallis test, Friedman test, Wilcoxon test, and Pearson's correlation.
Results – In relation to certain dimensions, one could think that age would be a determining factor, but this has not been proved. In fact, results showed that age is not a factor that influenced the importance attributed to different competences in the several dimensions. The respondents' academic degrees and areas of knowledge were linked to significant differences transversally. The Kruskal Wallis test indicated that students, teachers, and employers perceived the importance of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) skills equally. As for the other competences, overall there were significant differences between students and employers, and there were significant differences between students and teachers regarding the perceived importance of organization management skills. There were also significant differences between teachers, students, and employers regarding the perceived importance of communication skills. We also found that responses within the teacher group had less dispersion of answers, therefore there was greater internal agreement. The opposite occurred in the employer group.
Conclusion – The differences detected in the perception of the different groups were minor. However, it is necessary to create initiatives for the alignment of the perceptions of students and employers, because if all groups have the same perception, they will develop and value the same skills, responding to the needs of the labor market, thus promoting the employability of LIST graduates. The inclusion of a curricular internship, even one of short duration, in the first year of the degree could also be a way of endeavoring to bring together the expectations of both groups. These suggestions are part of a proposal to change and update the study plan and enhance the performance of course management.
Objective – This review aims to determine the suitability of the READ Scale for chat service assessment. We investigated how librarians rate chats and their interpretations of the results, and compared these findings to the original purpose of the Scale.
Methods – We performed a systematic search of databases in order to retrieve sources, applied inclusion and exclusion criteria, and read the remaining articles. We synthesized common themes that emerged into a discussion of the use of the READ Scale to assess chat service. Additionally, we compiled READ Scale designations across institutions to allow side-by-side comparisons of ratings of chat interactions.
Results – This review revealed that librarians used a variety of approaches in applying and understanding READ Scale ratings. Determination of staffing levels was often the primary goal. Further, librarians consistently rated chat interactions in the lower two-thirds of the scale, which has implications for service perception and recommendations.
Conclusion – The findings of this review indicated that librarians frequently use READ Scale data to make staffing recommendations, both in terms of numbers of staff providing chat service and level of experience to adequately meet service demand. Evidence suggested, however, that characteristics of the scale itself may lead to a distorted understanding of chat service, skewing designations to the lower end of the scale, and undervaluing the service.
Objective – The goals of this study were to 1) characterize the quantity and nature of research outputs created by or in cooperation with community-based research units (CBRUs) at Canadian universities; 2) assess dissemination practices and patterns with respect to these outputs; 3) understand the current and potential roles of institutional repositories (IRs) in disseminating community-based research (CBR).
Methods – The researcher consulted and consolidated online directories of Canadian universities to establish a list of 47 English language institutions. Working from this list of universities, the researcher investigated each in an attempt to identify any CBRUs within the institutions. Ultimately, these efforts resulted in a list of 25 CBRUs. All but 1 of these were from universities that also have IRs, so 24 CBRUs were included for further analysis. The researcher visited the website for each CBRU in February 2021 and, using the data on the site, created a list of each project that the CBRU has been involved in or facilitated over the past 10 years (2010-2020). An Excel spreadsheet was used to record variables relating to the nature and accessibility of outputs associated with each project.
Results – These 24 CBRUs listed 525 distinct projects completed during the past 10 years (2010-2020). The number of projects listed on the CBRU sites varied widely from 2 to 124, with a median of 13. Outputs were most frequently reports (n=375, which included research reports, whitepapers, fact sheets, and others), with journal articles (n=74) and videos (n= 42) being less common, and other formats even less frequent. The dissemination avenues for these CBRU projects are roughly divided into thirds, with approximately one third of the projects’ results housed on the CBRU websites, another third in IRs, and a final third in “other” locations (third party websites, standalone project websites, or not available). Some output types, like videos and journal articles, were far less likely to be housed in IRs. There was a significantly higher deposit rate in faculty or department-based CBRUs, as opposed to standalone CBRUs.
Conclusion – The results of this study indicate that academic libraries and their IRs play an important role in the dissemination of CBR outputs to the broader public. The findings also confirm that there is more work to be done; academic librarians, CBRU staff, and researchers can work together to expand access to, and potentially increase the impact of, CBR. Ideally, this would result in all CBRU project outputs being widely available, as well as providing more consistent access points to these bodies of work.
Objective – The present study intends to investigate the occupational stress and job performance of university library professionals in North-East India. The main objective of the study is to assess the perceived level of occupational stress among library professionals and to identify any relationship between occupational stress and library professionals’ job performance. The study also aims to study gender differences regarding perceived occupational stress and job performance among library professionals as well as examine the influence of occupational stress on perceived job performance.
Methods – Descriptive survey method was used for the study. The sample population consisted of 123 library professionals from different parts of North-East India selected through convenience sampling technique. The survey consisted of a structured questionnaire divided into three sections: demographic information, self-perceived occupational stress, and self-rated job performance. Descriptive and inferential statistical techniques including frequency, mean, standard deviation, t test, correlation co-efficient, and simple linear regression analysis were used to analyze data and interpret results with the help of the statistical package SPSS version 20.
Results – The findings of the study established that a majority of library professionals working in university libraries of North-East India perceived a moderate level of occupational stress. It was also determined that male and female library professionals do not differ in their perception of occupational stress (p > 0.05), while a significant mean difference was found between male and female library professionals’ perceptions towards their job performance (p r = -0.296, p . In addition to this, intrinsic impoverishment, under participation, low status, and poor peer relationships were some of the factors negatively affecting the job performance of library professionals.
Conclusion – The present study provides an insight about how occupational stress affects job performance of library professionals working in academic libraries. The findings revealed that there exists a modest but statistically significant negative relationship between occupational stress and job performance, which implies that an increment in the level of perceived occupational stress tends to influence library professionals’ self-perception of job performance negatively.
Objectives – In recent years, moral distress has become a topic of interest among health professionals. Moral distress is most commonly described in the nursing literature, and refers to a situation wherein an individual knows the correct action to take, but is constrained from doing so. While moral distress differs from the classic ethical dilemma, in recent years practitioners and theorists have advocated for a broadening of the definition of moral distress. To date, no study has examined another group of individuals who frequently interact with patients and who may be constrained by the confines of their role - Consumer Health Information Professionals (CHIPS). The objective of this study was to determine if CHIPS experience moral distress and/or ethical dilemmas, and to determine what, if any, coping strategies these individuals have developed.
Methods – This study employed a mixed methods approach. Quantitative data were gathered via an online survey which was distributed to relevant consumer health information professional electronic mail lists. The survey contained demographic questions and a series of questions related to potential discomfort within the context of work as a consumer health information professional. Qualitative data were also gathered through phone interviews with CHIPS. Interview questions included the participant’s definition of moral distress, professional experiences with moral distress, and any coping strategies to manage said distress.
Results – The authors received 213 survey responses. To test whether any of our demographic variables help to explain survey response, we used STATA to calculate Pearson correlation coefficients. Individuals who were more likely to experience discomfort in their occupation as CHIPS included individuals with less experience and individuals who identified as Black and Latinx. Interview data indicated that participants most commonly experienced ethical dilemmas related to censorship, providing prognosis information, and feeling constrained by institutional policies. Few interview participants described scenarios that reflected moral distress.
Conclusions – CHIPS do not appear to experience moral distress, at least according to its most narrow definition. CHIPS do consistently experience distinct ethical dilemmas, and the most durable patterns of this phenomenon appear to be related to experience level and racial identity. In recent years, researchers have raised calls to broaden the definition of moral distress from its narrow focus on constraint to include uncertainty, and CHIPs do experience moral uncertainty in their work. Further study is needed to determine how to best address the impacts of discomfort caused by ethical dilemmas among these groups.
A Review of:
Bornmann, L., & Daniel, H.-D. (2010). The manuscript reviewing process: empirical research on review requests, review sequences, and decision rules in peer review. Library & Information Science Research, 32(1), 5-12. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lisr.2009.07.010
Objective – To examine the peer review process at a single journal.
Design – Analysis of business records.
Setting – Peer review system of a single journal.
Subjects – Documents produced when reviewing manuscripts submitted for publication to journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition and reviewed in the year 2000.
Methods – Peer review process information was extracted from the journal’s archives. Various aspects, such as review sequences and decision rules, were analysed and summarised in tables.
Main results – Of the 1899 manuscripts reviewed in the year 2000, 46% (n = 878) were accepted for publication and 54% (n = 1021) were rejected. On average, a manuscript received 2.6 reviews before an editor made a publication decision. Just over half (n = 962, approx. 51%) of manuscripts were subject to two review steps. A small number of manuscripts (n = 104, approx. 5.5%) were subject to 5, 6 or 7 review steps. The more steps an article was subject to, the greater likelihood it would be accepted. Editors “generally follow a so-called clear-cut rule” (p.11) in which manuscripts accepted for publication must be considered both important and suitable for publication by at least two peer reviewers.
Conclusion – The results “give a sense of commitment [and care] ...probably typical of most prestigious journals” (p.11).