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ILL User Surveys at Old Dominion University. Stuart Frazer Interlibrary Loan Librarian Perry Library, Old Dominion University [email protected] User surveys at ODU. Quality Services Assessment Program began in 1995 Users of each library unit surveyed every three years

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Ill user surveys at old dominion university

ILL User Surveys at Old Dominion University

Stuart Frazer

Interlibrary Loan Librarian

Perry Library, Old Dominion University

[email protected]


User surveys at odu
User surveys at ODU

  • Quality Services Assessment Program began in 1995

  • Users of each library unit surveyed every three years

  • Program administered by the Library Services Committee

  • Recommendations acted upon by library departments


Selecting ill users for surveying
Selecting ILL users for surveying

  • Identify heavy ILL users (last survey n = 324 / 90 respondents)

  • Include users from all institutional groups

    • Faculty

    • Staff

    • Undergraduate & Graduate Students

    • Distance Learners

  • Consider surveys qualitative rather than quantitative


Administering the survey
Administering the survey

  • ILL users are ideal candidates for email surveys

  • Send the survey as an email to which the user can “reply”

  • Poor results getting users to fill out Web-based surveys


Writing the survey
Writing the survey

  • Limit closed-ended questions

    • Demographic characteristics

    • Perception of staff

    • Ease of request procedure

    • Turnaround time

  • Responses predictable and not very useful

  • Include open-ended questions

    • Allow users to set the agenda

    • Provide the most useful information


Focus groups
Focus groups

  • Groups of 8-12 interviewed through structured discussion

  • Moderators from outside the library

  • Questions open-ended to encourage discussion

  • Challenges

    • Need for outside help

    • Cost

    • Planning & organizing


What do odu s ill users want
What do ODU’s ILL users want?

  • Staff to provide research support for difficult/problem requests

  • Staff to provide maximum effort to acquire difficult items

  • Detailed, personal explanations if material cannot be obtained (no form letters)

Failure on these points sends message that library is not interested in supporting faculty and graduate student research


Faculty comment
Faculty comment

“mindset needs to change – [staff] should think of themselves as our research assistants, and when they can't find something on the first try, they should keep looking, and when they still can't find it, they should tell us why instead of sending us a form that is very hard to interpret . . . as well as being coldly indifferent to our research needs”


Graduate student comment
Graduate student comment

“It is fairly difficult to do research when confidence in the system is lost. I personally know many graduate students (and faculty) that refrain from using the service (ILL) at all due to the overwhelming number of ‘sorry, try again’ responses . . . some mechanism should be in place to order/buy/purchase frequently requested sources. For instance, if a book is requested 2 or 3 or more times then perhaps the library should own the source material”


What else do users want
What else do users want?

  • An inviting office environment

  • Better Web-based request forms

  • No form letters

  • Better quality photocopies

  • Better communication between ILL and collection development

  • Better online information about the status of requests

  • Better trained student workers


Changes
Changes

  • Recognize how much information is not cataloged on OCLC

  • Change mindset from interlibrary loan to information supply

  • Learn how to obtain “grey literature”

  • Work better with other library units like reference and collection development

  • Never “dead end” a user


Final thoughts
Final thoughts

  • Be careful how you present findings to staff

    • Create a sense of urgency without demoralizing

    • Emphasize positive comments to balance critical ones

  • Learn to love your critics


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