Noticias em eLiteracias

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✇ Reference Services Review

Editorial

12 de Junho de 2019, 12:38
Reference Services Review, Volume 47, Issue 2, Page 86-90, June 2019.
✇ Reference Services Review

The power of partnerships

31 de Maio de 2019, 10:32
Reference Services Review, Volume 47, Issue 2, Page 193-202, June 2019.
Purpose A large, predominantly undergraduate university in Tennessee partnered with a local magnet school aiming to assist high school seniors with their college-level research assignment. The partnership began as a pilot, but quickly expanded to include other high schools as a result of initial successes. This paper aims to describe the development of the partnership and its importance in fulfilling a key component of college preparedness for gifted high school students. Design/methodology/approach This paper describes how the Library partnership commenced as a service to a local high school that required its students to access college-level research materials. The paper details how both the Library and the high school recognized the impact of collaborating to expose these students to the information literacy skills needed for college readiness. Findings The paper presents the challenges encountered when attempting to provide college-level information literacy instruction to large groups of students visiting a college campus. It concludes with best practices and lessons learned, as well as plans for formal assessment and future initiatives. Originality/value The author has presented at Library Instruction West, July 2018. A review of the professional literature demonstrates that other academic libraries have partnered with local schools for a variety of library-related initiatives. Therefore, the concept of partnerships between the Library and local high schools is not unique. However, this paper aims to describe challenges encountered, best practices, lessons learned and suggestions for future directions, including formal assessment, all of which could be adapted by other academic libraries as applicable.
✇ Reference Services Review

Development of a framework for digital literacy

31 de Maio de 2019, 10:30
Reference Services Review, Volume 47, Issue 2, Page 91-105, June 2019.
Purpose Institutions seeking to develop or expand digital literacy programs face the challenge of navigating varied definitions for digital literacy itself. In answer to this challenge, this paper aims to share a process for developing a shared framework for digital literacy at one institution, including drawing on themes in existing frameworks, soliciting campus feedback and making revisions. Design/methodology/approach A draft digital literacy framework was created following the work of an initial library task force. Focus groups were conducted to gather feedback on the framework and to identify areas for future development. Findings Focus groups yielded 38 written responses. Feedback themes related to gaps in the framework, structural suggestions and common challenges for learners. Themes in focus group feedback led to several framework revisions, including the addition of Curation as a competency area, the removal of information communication technologies as its own competency area, and the inclusion of Learner rather than Student at the center of the framework. Practical implications The approaches described in this case study can be adapted by those looking to create a shared framework or definition for digital literacy on their campuses, as well as to create or revise definitions for other related literacies. Originality/value This case study presents an adaptable process for getting started with broad digital literacy initiatives, within the context of existing digital literacy frameworks worldwide.
✇ Reference Services Review

Chat reference: evaluating customer service and IL instruction

31 de Maio de 2019, 10:09
Reference Services Review, Volume 47, Issue 2, Page 134-150, June 2019.
Purpose Reflecting on the new ACRL Framework, a deficiency was observed in literature on the assessment of information literacy instruction in chat reference. An evaluation of recent chat transactions was undertaken and the purpose of the study was twofold. The purpose of this study is to discover if and how librarians were teaching information literacy skills in chat reference transactions and identify best practices to develop training and resources. Design/methodology/approach To start, a literature review was performed to identify current industry standards. A rubric, influenced by the ACRL Framework, was developed to evaluate chat transactions from one semester. Results from the assessment were compiled and interpreted to determine current practices. Findings This study identified the necessity of balancing customer service and instruction to manage student expectations and encourage successful chats. Best practices and strategies that librarians can use to provide a well-rounded service were culled for the development of training and resources. Originality/value Reference assumes a large portion of the services that academic librarians provide to students. As technology advances, librarians are relying on virtual platforms, including chat reference, as convenient and useful tools to provide reference services to the academic community. While face-to-face reference encourages information literacy instruction, it is challenging to perform the same instruction in a virtual setting where expectations are based on retail models. With the growing use of virtual services, evaluating the success of chat reference based on industry standards is imperative.
✇ Reference Services Review

Electronic reference services: a quality and satisfaction evaluation

31 de Maio de 2019, 10:06
Reference Services Review, Volume 47, Issue 2, Page 118-133, June 2019.
Purpose An evaluation of libraries and their overall quality should consider the quality of the services they provide. Satisfaction in terms of the service provided is indicative of the quality of reference services and since these services are expensive, evaluation is therefore essential. This paper aims to outline the development of a structural equations model to evaluate service quality and user satisfaction with regard to the electronic reference service provided by Francisco Xavier Clavigero Library belongs to the Iberoamericana University, located in Mexico City. Design/methodology/approach This model suggests that service quality can be explained by way of the five dimensions of the SERVQUAL methodology, (reliability, assurance, tangibles, empathy and responsiveness) and in turn, quality explains both user satisfaction and the value of the service to its patrons. Finally, this model suggests that a positive increase in user satisfaction leads to a lineal and positive increase in user loyalty. The evaluation considered 297 users who made at least one electronic reference request during 2014. Findings The adjustment of the structural model reveals that the latent variables that explain quality are reliability and responsiveness, and that quality explains satisfaction, which in turn explains user loyalty. Originality The generation of an indicator to evaluate the reference services enables identification of its strengths and weaknesses to offer a more efficient service, considering that it represents a significant percentage of the library’s financial and human resources.
✇ Reference Services Review

Commercial tabletop games to teach information literacy

23 de Maio de 2019, 03:36
Reference Services Review, Volume 47, Issue 2, Page 106-117, June 2019.
Purpose This paper aims to demonstrate how commercially available tabletop games can be effective tools to teach information literacy and present a list of best practices to improve instructor’s chances of success with this pedagogical method. Design/methodology/approach Librarians from two separate institutions with complementary experiences analyze the theory of game-based learning with tabletop games, present an example of game-based information literacy instruction in practice and suggest four best practices for this method of instruction. Findings This paper demonstrates that educators by combining sound pedagogical practices to connect the educational content to what rules of games ask of students can effectively find a balance between enthusiastic engagement and higher-order information literacy learning outcomes. Practical implications This paper can be used to guide librarians looking for creative and sound methods to engage students using tabletop games to teach information literacy. Originality/value The authors have unique theoretical and practical knowledge with joining pedagogy and tabletop games in the information literacy classroom. While there is a lot of literature on games in academic libraries, there is only one other paper on using a commercially available tabletop game to teach information literacy.
✇ Reference Services Review

On their own terms

16 de Maio de 2019, 12:44
Reference Services Review, Volume 47, Issue 2, Page 169-192, June 2019.
Purpose The purpose of this study is to investigate how first-year students conduct everyday life research and how, if possible, their everyday research skills can inform information literacy instruction in higher education. Very few studies in information literacy emphasize existing knowledge that students bring with them to college; instead, the emphasis tends to fall on deficits in students’ academic research skills. Strengths-based approaches or asset-based approaches as found in the literature of psychology and education provide a basis for exploring this direction in information literacy education. Design/methodology/approach The research used a phenomenographic methodology, interviewing 40 first-year students from two large universities, a medium-sized university and a community college. Findings The qualitative study suggests that first-year students are capable of using information purposefully to learn or research interests that have sparked their curiosities. They are also capable of reflecting on the ways that their investigations fulfilled their purposes, resulted in unexpected outcomes or made them consider their issue in a new light. These existing capacities provide promising starting points for strengths-based approaches to information literacy instruction. Practical implications Dialogue with students about prior research experiences enables teaching librarians to plan engaging, authentic information literacy curriculum that acknowledges existing strengths. Originality/value This study provides a valuable contribution to empirical evidence of student research skills prior to entering higher education and suggests connections between those skills and the ACRL Information Literacy Framework. In addition, the study provides a case for strengths-based education, activating students’ prior knowledge to learn and create new knowledge. Authors have presented at Library Instruction West, July 2018.
✇ Reference Services Review

Editorial: Eleanor Mitchell – modeling core competencies for LIS journal editors and more!

24 de Abril de 2019, 02:55
Reference Services Review, Volume 47, Issue 1, Page 2-3, February 2019.
✇ Reference Services Review

Editorial: Reflections on student learning, student success, and the student experience

24 de Abril de 2019, 02:55
Reference Services Review, Volume 47, Issue 1, Page 4-5, February 2019.
✇ Reference Services Review

Unique or ubiquitous: information literacy instruction outside academia

3 de Abril de 2019, 10:46
Reference Services Review, Volume 47, Issue 1, Page 73-84, February 2019.
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to investigate how US public libraries offer information literacy (IL) instruction to their patrons. Design/methodology/approach The study is a content analysis of eight library websites to determine passive IL instruction and active literacy instruction. Findings Library web guides offer passive IL instruction by highlighting resources patrons may wish to access to resolve information inquiries. Further, the authors found that a little less than 50 per cent of library programming offers some IL instruction, the majority of which relates to helping patrons learn to use tools to create information products. Originality/value IL is the ability to recognize the need for information, to effectively find information to meet that need and to use information for some purpose or goal. Academic, school and public libraries believe that understanding and using information critically and effectively bring gains to an individual and to society. However, they diverge in how and why they engage in IL instruction. The authors’ findings suggest that less than half of the libraries surveyed are providing active IL instruction, despite the recognition of the benefits IL provides.
✇ Reference Services Review

Cross-institutional collaboration for transfer student success

13 de Março de 2019, 10:53
Reference Services Review, Ahead of Print.
Purpose Each of Ventura County’s four public institutions of higher education list information literacy (IL) as either an institutional outcome or general education outcome for their students. Despite this, communication between the four campuses on this topic was limited. Librarians from these institutions applied to be part of the grant-funded Project ALAS Faculty Fellows Program to find ways to collaborate with each other and with teaching faculty to support the development of IL skills in transfer students. Design/methodology/approach Librarians from Ventura County’s four public institutions of higher education, with funding from the Project ALAS Faculty Fellows Program, held a one-day IL summit to bring librarians and teaching faculty together to unify objectives and create a seamless IL transition for transfer students. Findings Creating an opportunity for librarians and teaching faculty to discuss the definition and potential applications of IL in courses and assignments led to positive outcomes. Teaching faculty learned about library resources and took steps to begin collaborating with their campus librarian(s). Librarians also learned about different academic expectations in various disciplines, made new connections and made plans for future IL-focused collaborations. Originality/value Studies have demonstrated that IL is a key component to student transfer success. However, this is not an element in education that can be achieved by one department alone. The collaborative effort described in this paper can serve as a model for other librarians hoping to foster dialogue and cooperation amongst their regional institutions.
✇ Reference Services Review

Revealing instruction opportunities: a framework-based rubric for syllabus analysis

12 de Março de 2019, 02:10
Reference Services Review, Volume 47, Issue 2, Page 151-168, June 2019.
Purpose The purpose of this paper was to develop a rubric based on the ACRL framework to analyze departmental syllabi for opportunities to scaffold information literacy instruction. The rubric provided a replicable method of gathering and analyzing data using course syllabi to enable instruction librarians to strategically embed information literacy instruction within a disciplinary curriculum. Design/methodology/approach This study examined 231 syllabi from three departments at a large American university. The authors developed and normed a rubric based on ACRL’s 2015 Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education and coded the syllabi for the presence of these six themes using a three-indicator scale: not present, implied or explicitly stated. Cohen’s kappa calculations for interrater reliability was 0.92, which indicates that the raters had a high level of agreement and that the rubric could be a reliable instrument to replicate this sort of study. Findings The analysis revealed numerous opportunities for targeted, curriculum-integrated instruction in each department at the undergraduate and graduate levels. It also offered disciplinary insights on the Framework within and across each program. Thesedata can be used to inform conversations with program administrators about scaffolding information literacy interventions across a curriculum. Originality/value This study contributes a new instrument with which to analyze syllabi for information literacy outcomes to develop curricular maps and conduct strategic instructional outreach. The data demonstrated that the rubric is reliable and could be used to replicate this study in a variety of programs or institutions. Authors have presented at Library Instruction West, July 2018.
✇ Reference Services Review

A cascading approach to training discovery

8 de Março de 2019, 03:45
Reference Services Review, Volume 47, Issue 1, Page 60-72, February 2019.
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to illustrate why libraries should develop instructional plans to further integrate Web-scale discovery services into the academy, as well as propose a three-fold delivery plan to achieve this goal. Design/methodology/approach This paper documents a strategy to integrate Web-scale discovery services into library training and instruction for multiple audiences. The strategy is informed by past analysis of discovery service search queries. Findings It presents a three-part training plan that can be applied to multiple audiences, universities/colleges and even discovery service platforms. Practical implications The strategies and practices detailed in this paper are easily adaptable to other institutions that currently subscribe to Web-scale discovery service products. Originality/value This paper introduces an innovative approach toward transforming Web-scale discovery instruction across the academy, based on search query analysis.
✇ Reference Services Review

Affirming the research party reference model

28 de Fevereiro de 2019, 03:06
Reference Services Review, Volume 47, Issue 1, Page 48-59, February 2019.
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to provide evidence of the value of Research Parties, a new model of supplementary reference in a social environment. Design/methodology/approach A survey of multiple choice and open-ended questions was administered to Research Party participants (n = 43) over the course of three semesters to discover the profiles of the undergraduate students who attended and how they heard about the event and to assess the value of the interaction to the student. Findings Respondents unanimously agreed that their interactions with librarians at Research Parties were helpful because their information seeking needs, including finding sources, learning how to search databases, gaining clarity into the assignment, writing and citing, were met. Respondents also mentioned attributes of the librarian’s disposition or attitude such as enthusiastic conversation, encouragement and patience. Several students reflected on their own learning process and noted that they would seek help from a librarian again. Practical implications The results demonstrate that Research Parties are helpful to undergraduate students and a worthwhile model for academic libraries looking to complement their traditional reference services. Originality/value While faculty and administrators have verbally expressed excitement about Research Parties, librarian colleagues have anecdotally reported success instituting this model at their institutions, and students have provided informal positive feedback, this is the first time the model has been evaluated more formally to capture its value.
✇ Reference Services Review

Exploration of reference models in a public university system

16 de Janeiro de 2019, 02:24
Reference Services Review, Volume 47, Issue 1, Page 21-36, February 2019.
Purpose This study aims to investigate the reference and public service models used at academic libraries in the California State University system. Design/methodology/approach This exploratory study used a qualitative mixed methods design with an online survey and follow-up interviews with public services librarians. Findings The majority of the libraries in this study continue to use a traditional reference model with a physical desk staffed by librarians. Some libraries have moved to tiered or on-call reference using students and staff to triage patron questions. The majority of libraries’ public service points also follow a traditional configuration with separate service points for reference and other library public services. Research limitations/implications As this research is limited to one public university system, the results may not be generalizable to all academic libraries. Replicating this research in other systems would increase the generalizability of the results and allow for the generation of potential best practices for reference models and public service point configurations. Practical implications Librarians who are considering changes to their reference models and service point layouts can use the results as a starting point for conversations about the benefits and challenges of various models as well provide support to create an environment where changes to the models can be successfully implemented. Originality/value This study is one of the few to investigate multiple academic libraries’ approaches to reference and public services in the research literature. As such, it addresses a gap in the literature that case studies alone cannot fill.
✇ Reference Services Review

Lessons learned: intentional implementation of second makerspaces

5 de Dezembro de 2018, 01:31
Reference Services Review, Volume 47, Issue 1, Page 37-47, February 2019.
Purpose What happens when a librarian outgrows their maker learning location or transfers to a new library? The purpose of this study is to explore the planning process for second and/or new library makerspaces. Is the planning more intentional? Is there more focus on how the makerspace should be put together for the community served? Is the community further involved? This study will explore those questions and more. Design/methodology/approach Using content analysis, the perspectives of practicing librarians in the achievement of subsequent makerspaces are examined. Data include librarian interviews, an analysis using NVivo 11 through the lens of design thinking, and a final review using member checking by each research participant. Findings Makerspaces continue to grow in popularity in school and public/community libraries. What is unexplored is the moving from a first makerspace to the implementation of a second and/or new maker learning location. More intentional planning is involved. The community served by the library is further engaged in the planning. Study results illustrate the value that community insight and intentional planning play in the design and implementation of makerspaces. Originality/value Makerspaces in libraries continue to grow in popularity; in turn, the body of peer-reviewed, scholarly publications also continues to grow. Librarians in the field are beginning to move from their first to second makerspaces. This study investigates those perspectives. Much can be gained from the experiences of those who have implemented their second or third makerspace.
✇ Reference Services Review

Editorial

21 de Novembro de 2018, 10:29
Reference Services Review, Volume 46, Issue 4, Page 462-462, November 2018.
✇ Reference Services Review

Let’s chat: the art of virtual reference instruction

30 de Outubro de 2018, 01:54
Reference Services Review, Volume 46, Issue 4, Page 529-542, November 2018.
Purpose This study aims to evaluate the instances of information literacy instruction within the virtual reference system of a Canadian university library. Design/methodology/approach Coding and analysis of a sample of chat transcripts over the course of one academic year have been used. Findings The analysis indicated that over 50 per cent of virtual reference interactions do not lend themselves to information literacy instruction. An average of 23.6 per cent of interactions included information literacy instruction and the preferred methods of instruction were modelling and resource sharing. Originality/value While previous studies have focused on information literacy instruction provided in a virtual reference setting, this study aims to identify not only instances of information literacy but also to better understand the nature of chat queries by codifying instances of a transactional nature. The results could lead to improved best practices for chat reference, enhanced staff training and varied promotion and delivery of not just virtual reference services but of other library services as well. A portion of this research project, including partial results for the Fall semester, was presented at the LILAC Conference in Liverpool in April 2018.
✇ Reference Services Review

Diverse mobile users: the development of library experts

12 de Outubro de 2018, 02:58
Reference Services Review, Volume 47, Issue 1, Page 6-20, February 2019.
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to undertake a formative evaluation of growth over time that would demonstrate diverse library users’ development as they interact with mobile digital library services. Design/methodology/approach This paper incorporated a server log analysis to evaluate first, the location of users. To study the nature of diverse user development, users from unique locations were identified and tracked over several years. The type of growth that this paper analyzes is the development of a library user from the beginning stages of use into one who is more experienced. For the purposes of this paper, the authors define library experts as experienced library users. These are users who have come back to the library over multiple sessions of learning and branched out into multiple areas of library functionality and services. Findings The findings of modular mobile use over time suggest that, while over half of users only utilized one module, 39 per cent of all users accessed more than one module. This formative approach to assessing student library engagement suggests alternative metrics for assessing outreach and distance learning. Originality/value The underlying departure point for this study is that formative models may introduce descriptive data valuable to the learning analytics toolkit. The library research literature on learning analytics, and perhaps library service offerings that support learning, may gain additional value by attending to students’ formative development as they interact with library resources. Describing the way in which mobile app users develop can yield insights about learning over time, both on campus and at a distance.
✇ Reference Services Review

Survey of modern language research guides: a window on disciplinary information literacy

10 de Outubro de 2018, 10:33
Reference Services Review, Volume 46, Issue 4, Page 463-478, November 2018.
Purpose This study aims to use research guides as a window to disciplinary information literacy in the field of modern language studies from a librarian’s point of view. Informed by literature on disciplinary research practices and on library research guides, it analyzes how librarians represent, and teach, an especially rich and multifaceted information landscape. Design/methodology/approach Researchers analyzed the topical coverage, organization, resource emphasis and instructional content of 182 research guides in the field of modern language studies. Data were collected both manually and automatically using a Web scraper. Data were then coded using categories developed by the authors. Findings Guides focused on language and literature topics, with some interdisciplinary coverage. Guides tended to focus on resources and formats rather than user tasks or instruction. Over two thirds of guides included some type of instruction, primarily focused on locating resources, and a slim majority of instructional topics were specific to modern language studies. Research limitations/implications Looking at guides from another field would have allowed for cross-disciplinary comparisons. It is possible that including guides from additional languages or universities would have given different results. Originality/value Although there is significant literature on research guides, few have analyzed how they reflect what information literacy looks like in a particular discipline. This study also contributes to research on information literacy instruction for modern languages and recommends that it be informed by an understanding of disciplinary research practices.
✇ Reference Services Review

Library instruction and information literacy 2017

8 de Outubro de 2018, 10:37
Reference Services Review, Volume 46, Issue 4, Page 628-734, November 2018.
Purpose This paper aims to present recently published resources on information literacy and library instruction through an extensive annotated bibliography of publications covering all library types. Design/methodology/approach This paper annotates English-language periodical articles, monographs, dissertations and other materials on library instruction and information literacy published in 2017 in over 200 journals, magazines, books and other sources. Findings The paper provides a brief description for all 590 sources. Originality/value The information may be used by librarians and interested parties as a quick reference to literature on library instruction and information literacy.
✇ Reference Services Review

Defining, evaluating, and achieving accessible library resources

8 de Outubro de 2018, 10:36
Reference Services Review, Ahead of Print.
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to review the library and information science literature related to the accessibility of digital resources by individuals with mental, physical or other impairments, to assess the state of research in the field and to explore new avenues for investigation. Design/methodology/approach There is an increasingly rich body of literature surrounding digital accessibility in libraries, ranging from practical guides for authors of Web content, to principles of universal design, to the ethical considerations of libraries subscribing to packages of digital content, to critical examinations of the accessibility guidelines themselves. This review is intended to be illustrative, not exhaustive; less attention is given to studies of specific tools that will become quickly outdated, and more attention is given to underlying considerations and approaches that will remain relevant even as technologies change. Findings Many libraries and vendors have taken steps to provide equal access to websites and electronic resources in recent years. While the literature reflects an increasing level of critical engagement with concepts around disability and diversity, it also demonstrates methodological weaknesses in assessment projects that do not lead to meaningful accessibility. Originality/value This review offers theoretical and practical perspectives from recent work that can assist librarians in planning and decision-making, as they deal with an increasingly complex landscape of digital resources.
✇ Reference Services Review

Building bridges: librarians and autism spectrum disorder

5 de Outubro de 2018, 10:54
Reference Services Review, Ahead of Print.
Purpose This paper aims to convey the experiences of an academic librarian in providing services to students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) so that it may aide other librarians who also work with these students. Design/methodology/approach This paper does this by detailing a support program, the Bridges to Adelphi Program, for students on the spectrum and illustrates the nature of the disorder, strategies that have been used in working with these students and reflections on and implications of these strategies. Finding This paper provides information on practical strategies used and in detail descriptions of this work and conveys findings on which strategies are used and why and which strategies succeeded and which did not. Research limitations/implications One limitation of this paper is that other universities may not have a well-organized and well-developed support program such as the Bridges to Adelphi Program. However, it does provide advice on working with students on the spectrum even in the absence of such a program. Future avenues for research include the collection and evaluation of data on learning outcomes that these techniques have on students with ASD. Practical implications The specific librarian interventions detailed in this paper will provide advice and models that other librarians can use. Originality/value This paper is distinguished from other scholarship in that it is addressed to the librarian and not teaching faculty, and in the small amount of literature that is addressed to the librarian, this paper differs in that it does not solely offer suggestions but provides a real-world accounting of strategies and interventions used.
✇ Reference Services Review

Visual literacy: academic libraries address 21st century challenges

28 de Setembro de 2018, 11:03
Reference Services Review, Volume 46, Issue 4, Page 479-499, November 2018.
Purpose This paper aims to explore a study that examines the role of academic librarians who teach visual literacy within their information literacy curricula. Design/methodology/approach The author developed a survey that was distributed to five listservs during a three-week period, generating 118 responses from academic libraries. The author subsequently interviewed 16 participants. Findings The findings reveal that visual literacy is important across all disciplines. However, a majority of academic librarians who replied to the survey stated that they do not teach visual literacy. Only 37.3 per cent of the respondents indicated that they or their institutions include a visual literacy component in their sessions. Practical implications The paper identifies the most relevant visual literacy trends, and it includes examples of visual literacy skills and concepts being taught in academic libraries. It provides ideas to develop marketing strategies to increase student enrollment in library workshops. Originality/value This study has expanded librarians’ awareness of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Visual Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education. In addition, it explores the teaching of multiliteracies such as visual literacy within the information literacy framework in the academic library. The survey data demonstrate that academic librarians are slowly embracing visual literacy and including it in their information literacy instruction across all disciplines. The study recommends that librarians work on their professional development to become multiliterate to remain relevant within their academic communities.
✇ Reference Services Review

EBSCO information services usability study on accessibility

28 de Setembro de 2018, 11:02
Reference Services Review, Ahead of Print.
Purpose Last spring, EBSCO Information Services conducted a usability study with several students with visual impairments. The goal was to understand how these students conduct research and identify areas for improvement of EBSCO Discovery Service™ such that it would meet the needs of all potential users. EBSCO Discovery Service™ provides users with means of accessing all of an institution’s internal (library) and external (database vendors) information resources through a single search. The purpose of this paper is to outline the findings of this research and the applicability to the design of any online resource. Design/methodology/approach Using the Bentley University’s user experience lab to facilitate the study and the Carroll Center for the Blind in Newton, Massachusetts, for recruitment of college students, EBSCO solicited feedback on how students conduct research on the Web in general, as well as their experience using EBSCO’s discovery service. The study involved a structured interview with eight visually impaired students from the Boston area, who had recently been enrolled in a college course. The students were also asked to complete certain tasks using the discovery service and report out as they completed each activity. Findings The findings demonstrated that for the most part, students with visual impairments engaged in research on the Web and within the discovery service in a similar manner to sighted students. They used the same standard search sites, expected the same layout conventions for results’ lists and filters and wanted easily savable full-text documents. Main differences involved their ability to navigate in a similar way to sighted users. Elements that one could skip over quickly as a sighted user were more of a hindrance to those relying on a screen reader. Additionally, improved descriptions for graphics, functions and form fields were noted as opportunities for improvement. For those with low vision, using screen magnifiers, modal boxes and hover features or other unexpected changes on the site proved to be challenging. Research limitations/implications This study focused only on students with visual disabilities. There are many other print disabilities that were not explored such as color blindness, cognitive disabilities or learning disabilities. All the students were in their 20s and had experience conducting research and using library or research-related search sites. Many of the findings highlighted areas of improvement that would benefit all students. Originality/value A study on students with visual disabilities using assistive technologies as they completed research tasks on a discovery system has not been studied before. Guidelines and audits do not provide a complete picture as to whether a website is fully accessible. It is only by working with actual users that insight into what it means to create a truly accessible experience can be gained.
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