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to Fit the Internet Culture. Joe Barker An Infopeople Workshop Summer 2006. Using Bookmarks in Class. Go to: Look for the class bookmark file Click on it so it shows on the screen

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to fit the internet culture

to Fit theInternet Culture

Joe Barker

An Infopeople Workshop

Summer 2006

using bookmarks in class
Using Bookmarks in Class
  • Go to:
  • Look for the class bookmark file
  • Click on it so it shows on the screen
  • With the class bookmark file showing in Internet Explorer, click the Favorites menu, choose Add to Favorites
libraries have changed with the internet
Libraries Have Changed with the Internet
  • Heavily invested in online databases of articles, books, reference, and other resources
  • Fabulous websites
    • access to rich online resources – licensed and free
    • web pages list services and activities
    • specialized web spaces – teens, kids, and more
  • More computers
  • Online reference, generally 24/7
  • More reliance on online tools at ref desk

Libraries have "built it." Are they coming?

statistics sources
Statistics Sources
  • PEW Internet & American Life Project
  • Perceptions of Libraries and Information Sources: A Report to the OCLC Membership
  • ALA's @ your library: Attitudes Toward Public Libraries Survey 2006

All available online. See Bookmarks for this course

internet has changed library users
Internet Has Changed Library Users
  • Over 73% use the Internet regularly
    • the Internet fits their lifestyle
      • wherever, whenever, low cost, quick
  • Adults feel more familiar with search engines than with libraries
    • 63% very familiar with search engines
    • 60% very familiar with physical libraries
    • 32% very familiar with online libraries
  • Age 14-24 and college students
    • equally familiar with search engines and physical libraries

More detailed statistics in Handout #1

libraries valued a good thing

But 14-17, 18-24 and college show hefty increases

Libraries Valued – a "good thing"
  • 75% have library privileges
  • Adult use of libraries – slight decline last few years
    • decreased 25% 23% 33% 34% 16%
    • increased 35% 33% 21% 22% 46%
    • the same 39% 44% 45% 44% 40%

14-17 18-24 25-64 65+ College

  • Adults expect slight increase in the next few years
    • will increase 41% 31% 20% 15% 38%
    • will decrease 12% 22% 17% 17% 12%
    • the same 47% 47% 63% 68% 50%

14-17 18-24 25-64 65+ College

exercise 1
Exercise 1

Exploring the Gap

How We Find Information

library users research patterns now

98 %

not library

Library Users’ Research Patterns Now

Where do they start?

  • 84% search engines
  • 6% email (to a friend, expert, colleague, etc.)
  • 2% subject-specific websites (directories)
  • 2% email information subscriptions (listservs)
  • 2% online news
  • 1% instant messaging (IM)
  • 1% online bookstore
  • 1% online database (sometimes library)
  • 1% library website

ALL U.S. users

what electronic resources do they use

50% dwell online here

What Electronic Resources Do They Use?

ALL U.S. users

  • 74% email
  • 71% search engines
  • 53% instant messaging
  • 51% online news
  • 52% online bookstores
  • 50% subject-specific websites
  • 46% email information subscriptions
  • 31% library websites
  • 25% electronic magazines/journals
  • 19% blogs
  • 16% online databases
  • 15% ask an expert
  • 13% electronic/digital books
  • 9% audio books
  • 5% online library reference
  • 5% RSS feeds
for the 31 who use the library website what library electronic resources do they use




For the 31% Who Use the Library Website,What Library Electronic Resources Do They Use?

OPAC 61% 68/71% 85%

library info or places in the site 66% 68/71% 86%

online reference materials 48% 67/63% 79%

electronic magazines/journals 42% 46/63% 82%

online databases 42% 54/57% 75%

online librarian question services 42% 56/43% 51%

electronic books 27% 38/44% 63%

audio books 25% 29/27% 38%

Young people generally view libraries more positively

and use e-resources more than adults and seniors 65+

awareness of library resources explains low use

less than

50 %


Awareness of Library Resources Explains Low Use


60% aware of library website

58% aware of OPAC

55% aware of online reference materials

39% online databases

37% audio books

34% electronic magazines/journals

31% electronic books

27% online librarian question services

Age 14-24 and college students - higher awareness than adults

in person reference used often
In-Person Reference Used Often
  • What people come to the library for

53% to find books

48% to use specific reference book

39% for reference (research help)

39% get best-seller

32% get articles/journals

33% use online databases

29% use the computer/Internet

25% do homework/study

  • Young people and college students use reference even more

Age 14-17 58%

Age 18-24 65%

College students 68%

but people prefer to try on their own

In-Person Reference Desks Highly Valued

But People Prefer to Try On Their Own
  • 76% who seek help go to the reference desk
    • not online ref, not someone else in the library
  • 77% who get help believe librarians add value to the research process
    • older users more value than younger
  • All users combined
    • 65% never ask for help at the library
    • 35% ask for help at the library
  • Help sought more by the young & seniors 65+
    • College students 46% seek help
    • Young people, 14-24 40-41% seek help
    • 65+ 41% seek help

Search Engines Used More Than

Physical Libraries or Online Libraries

All 14-17 18-24 25-64 65+ College

Favorable Ratings

Search engines 86% 78% 82% 87% 83% 92%

Physical libraries 80% 67% 77% 81% 82% 85%

Online libraries 60% 33% 50% 49% 36% 66%

Search Engines Outperform Reference

% Satisfactory or Very Satisfactory

Search Engines Librarians

Quality of info 89% 70%

Quantity of info 92% 81%

Speed 92% 81%

Overall 90% 84%

what can we conclude
What Can We Conclude?
  • We approach research differently from users
  • Online users come to reference desks after trying on their own
    • they use search engines most
    • even if satisfied with librarian reference service, they prefer to try search engines
    • they lack awareness of our online databases, journals, or other specialized library resources
  • When people come to us, they value our expertise and help
  • Reference is opportune moment to show how better to do research
    • save themselves a trip to the reference desk
    • increase the positive impact of reference
do not magically find and give an answer
Do Not Magically Find and Give an Answer
  • Explain how you found it
  • Offer to help them learn how, too
  • Introduce our licensed and otherspecialized resources when the best choice
whenever you can try to empower each user to self serve better
Whenever You Can, Try to Empower Each User to Self-serve Better
  • Good library PR
    • an ally in finding information
  • Extends our specialized skills into the community
  • Increase the use of our special resources
it won t always work
It Won't Always Work
  • Not all users want to learn to research better
  • Sometimes the desk is too busy
  • Not all have computers or online access
  • They may feel frustrated and angry because they've already tried everything
    • came to you for an answer
adapt the reference interview
Adapt the Reference Interview
  • Find out where users are in the Internet culture
    • Internet user?
    • self-server? potential self-server?
    • proficiency at web searching?
    • awareness of alternatives to googling?
    • awareness of types of info?
    • able to discern reliable info adequately?
  • Are they open to learning better research skills?
  • Find out what skills will help them
coach and guide avoid telling
Coach and Guide – Avoid Telling
  • At the reference desk
    • turn the monitor so they can see
    • maybe give them the keyboard
  • Ask them for their suggestions
    • where to go, what to do
    • what to type in a search box
    • what terms to use
  • Guide them with questions and suggestions:
    • What seems like a good place to begin?
    • Is it clear what to do next?
let the users show you their skills and skill level
Let the Users Show You Their Skills and Skill Level
  • Let them drive the process as much as reasonable
    • people retain what they learn by DOING, QUESTIONING, and EXPLAINING what they see
  • Take them to a terminal, get them started
    • let them work and ask for help if they need it
  • Engage them in the hunt – it’s their challenge
    • assume they can learn to do more
  • Ask
    • "What might one type here to find what you’re looking for?"
talk out loud
Talk Out Loud
  • If you’re doing the keying and clicking, verbalize your thought process
    • "These search terms didn’t get the right stuff. Hmm… Let’s try ….."
    • "This sounds like a business database question. Have you tried . . .?"
    • "I wonder who might have an interest in gathering that information"
    • "Hmmm. We are getting too many possible answers in Google. What might be a quicker way to a good answer?"
when you think you ve found it explain how you reached the conclusion
When You Think You’ve Found It,Explain How You Reached the Conclusion
  • "I used Google because I sensed that there would be a lot of web pages with a pretty reliable answer"
  • "I thought a database specialized in your topic would be the fastest place to go"
    • "We have links directly to some of these on our library website"
  • "I tried looking in books and magazines because I think they will be more reliable than what we might find on the free, open web that comes through Google."
    • "Did you know you find these from home?"
build on imperfect approaches
Build On Imperfect Approaches
  • Try whatever the user thinks is best, even if you know better
    • point out problems when they arise
  • Avoid a judgmental, superior tone
    • saying, “That’s what you can expect when you use Google” might cause the user to side with the search engine
  • Experiment with possible places to look
  • Offer to explain what isn't clear or intuitive
  • Offer how-to guides if you have them
demonstrate narrowing or focusing
Demonstrate Narrowing or Focusing
  • Start with too general a search if it’s what a user thinks best
    • schizophrenia in PsychInfo or Psych Abstracts
    • “aborigines” in Google
  • Show the process of adding terms to focus the search on some aspect
    • point out fewer results
    • ask what terms come to the user’s mind
  • Write terms down for them to use on their own
    • encourage them to feel like trying it out
exercise 2
Exercise 2

Role playing:

Using Reference to Augment Users' Research Skills

exercise 3
Exercise 3

A Look at Approaches We Use and Recommend for Evaluating Online Information

how most users approach critical evaluation of information
How Most Users Approach Critical Evaluation of Information

What criteria are important?

Provides a usable answer76%

Is free (from the web or a library) 73%

Easy to use66%

Seems credible/trustworthy 65%

Is fast 61%

Based on a recommendation 26%

  • Little difference by age or education


More detailed statistics on back of Handout #4

what is credible trustworthy information

50 %

What Is “Credible/Trustworthy” Information


Personal knowledge/common sense 85%

Reputation of company/organization 73%

Validation by cross-referencing 67%

Recommendation of trusted source 55%

Site’s professional appearance 28%

Based on authority/author 26%

The fact it costs money, is not free

(from the web or a library) 1%

  • Age 14-24 & college students
    • rely twice as much on site's professional appearance
    • rely slightly more on author/authority
what is used to validate information by cross referencing
What Is Used to Validate Information by Cross-Referencing?


  • Other websites with similar information 82%
  • Print material (not library materials) 68%
  • Expert in the field 48%
  • Library materials 40%
  • Friend 32%
  • Coworker/colleague 33%
  • Relative 24%
  • Teacher/professor 26%
  • Librarian 14%
what is trusted the most for validating information


What is Trusted the Most for Validating Information?
  • Expert in the field 19% 9% 4% 23% 20% 9%
  • Other websites 17% 10% 13% 19% 12% 15%
  • Print material 16% 14% 7% 17% 21% 13%
  • Friend 9% 17% 8% 8% 10% 3%
  • Coworker/colleague 9% 0% 4% 12% 4% 2%
  • Teacher/professor 11% 33% 40% 4% 6% 45%
  • Relative 10% 9% 10% 7% 21% 4%
  • Library materials 5% 2% 10% 5% 1% 6%
  • Librarian1% 4% 2% 1% 1% 2%

All 14-17 18-24 25-64 65+ College

trustworthiness of search engines vs library sources
Trustworthiness ofSearch Engines vs. Library Sources
  • Non-student adults (age over 25)

21% library sources more trustworthy

7% search engines more trustworthy 72% about the same

  • Students trust library sources a little more

25% 31% library sources more trustworthy

16% 21% search engines more trustworthy

53% 58% about the same

Age 14-24College

revisiting our lists from exercise 3 handout 3
Revisiting Our Lists from Exercise 3 & Handout 3
  • Do you think your users will use the checklists effectively?
  • What about high-RISK questions?
      • safety, health
      • monetary or financial loss
      • illegality, rules, laws, policies
    • Do the checklists address what is high-risk?
sharing our critical thinking wisdom w ithout checklists
Sharing Our Critical Thinking Wisdom Without Checklists
  • In reference transactions, ask questions out loud to invite the users to evaluate
    • "Do you think you have both sides of the issues here?"
    • "Would you be interested in an article from a business journal about this?"
    • "Do you know when those statistics were gathered?"

More examples in Handout 4

"Realistic Ways to Enhance Users' Evaluation Approaches"

do our library websites serve our users needs
Do Our Library Websites Serve Our Users' Needs?

Assuming our reference interactions succeed at expanding users' research skills,

Will they feel able and willing to use our websites when trying to find answers?

problems in some library websites
Problems in Some Library Websites
  • Too much
    • links to things we need at reference desks
    • links to library committees or the city/county/community
    • links to important services
      • teens, kids, events, literacy programs
    • cute graphics for color and pizzazz
    • too long and/or wordy
  • Too little
    • spare, simple, and elegant
    • hard to know where to find what you need
they lack usability

People vote for most web pages using the button

They Lack "Usability"
  • A body of research on how people use websites – what works and fails
  • Web use – very different from anything else
    • before they start searching, people create notion of what they're looking for
    • they scan quickly for a match with that notion
    • if find promise of a match, they stay and keep hunting
  • People's experience with ALL web pages they use establishes their expectations
    • how do library web pages compare?
usability defined
Usability Defined
  • Learnability
    • how easy to learn to use
  • Efficiency
    • how quickly you can get what you want
  • Memorability
    • how easy to come back and remember how use the site
  • Satisfaction with the design
    • pleasant, not offensive, not annoying or distracting
  • Functionality
    • how well it works to deliver what people think they want
  • Errors
    • how many errors people make, how easy to recover
people don t read in web pages
People Don't Read In Web Pages
  • They scan in an F pattern
  • read longer at the top
  • read the first two or three words as they quickly move down
  • look for salient matches for what they're seeking
    • may read across if possible match
what makes a website scannable
What Makes a Website Scannable?
  • Anticipate what users seek
    • their language, not our jargon
  • Bullets, subheads – not sentences
  • Short paragraphs if text
  • Emphasize significant, important words
    • put them first in bullets and paragraphs
    • highlight important words as links or bold
  • Inverted pyramid style
    • answer "What's in it for me?" first
    • details later
  • Simple, everyday language
    • no hype, no selling
    • nothing that resembles advertising
discussion what causes user frustration in library web pages
Discussion: What Causes User Frustration in Library Web Pages?
  • No alternative to reading or scanning
    • people look for search when browsing fails
  • Not clear what a search box searches
    • search entire website?
    • searchCatalog?
  • Cannot tell visited links from unvisited
    • knowing where you've been helps navigate
  • Dead links
  • Lack of common feel throughout the site
  • Can't find contact or location information
    • phone numbers, email, addresses, maps
exercise 4
Exercise 4

Test Driving Some Library Websites

  • Are they effective online doorways?
  • Do we need to teach how to use them in our reference sessions?
what if you cannot alter the website
What If You Cannot Alter the Website?
  • Develop "how to" handouts, guides
  • Explain the jargon, where to look for things, sequence of events
  • On paper
    • give as handouts in reference
    • put where users will find them without asking
    • have available as .doc and .pdf to send as email attachments
  • On the website
    • if you cannot put a link at point of need, make them available on a Help or Ask a Librarian page
    • "Need help?" or "Help with ... "
  • Non-English language if needed
usability for handouts
Usability for Handouts
  • Take the users’ point of view
    • answer questions you think the user has in mind
  • Explain library jargon
    • Does everyone know what a "catalog" contains?
  • Minimize words
    • what, where, how – not why
    • bullets – not sentences
    • simplicity – draws people in
  • If instructions for a process – using something
    • use terms that are used in the task itself
    • follow the sequence as in the task itself
    • point out any pitfalls in the process
    • let a novice try it
a quick dirty library website guide
A Quick & Dirty Library Website Guide

HANDOUT #6 - Two Handout Models

"Finding what you want in Cal's Virtual Library"

  • Most asked questions from new user point of view
    • targets new students and visiting users only
  • Important words in bold
  • Done with Word
  • Took less than 30 minutes
  • Few words, white space
a usable handout
Title says it all

explanation clarifies

Graphics draw you in visually

provide the "what"

shadow intrigues


consistent descriptions

White space inviting


Examples show how to use

few words to read

A Usable Handout
exercise 5
Exercise 5
  • In the not-your-library website you evaluated in Exercise 4, how might a "quick and dirty" handout increase novice user success?
the future
The Future
  • Trends
  • New technologies
  • Things we can do
trends for library users
Trends for Library Users
  • More and more getting online
    • 10% increase in last year
    • 45% increase in high-speed connectivity
    • rate may reach saturation, but will not reverse
  • More and more self-serving
    • finding their own answers
    • expecting increased ease of use, convenience, speed
  • Continue to use libraries for some things
    • maybe better at finding what they need
    • maybe incorporating more of our resources
    • maybe better at evaluating what they find
  • Expecting an increasingly exciting online experience
    • "Web 2.0" is here
what is web 2 0 successor to the web we know
Britannica online  Wikipedia

Personal web pages  Blogs

Photo-sharing sites  Flickr

Bookmarks  Subscribe to RSS feeds

Directories (taxonomy)  Tagging (folksonomy)

Banner ads  Google's subtle, relevant ads

MapQuest  3D & image map programs

Trust websites you know  Trust what peers like:

eBay reputation or Amazon reviews and recommendations

Web 1.0

Web 2.0

What is "Web 2.0" ? Successor to the web we know
some principles of web 2 0
Some Principles of Web 2.0
  • Harness collective intelligence and trust the wisdom of crowds
    • blogs, wikis, tagging
  • Trust users as content co-developers
    • eBay, Amazon, Netflix
    • remixes, mashups
      • developed by hacker fans and entrepreneurs
      • = real estate info + Microsoft Virtual Earth images
  • Feed the appetite for change
    • sites remain in Beta, evolving not fixed
  • Architecture of participation
    • usage enhances content, purpose, reputation
leverage the long tail
Leverage the "Long Tail"
  • The bulk of the web is low-use websites low in search results
    • found by sophisticated searching or AdSense
  • The bulk of library collections is low-use
    • licensed databases, special resources, most books
      • valuable once discovered, but little used
  • Getting our "long tail" seen
    • Web 2.0 ways to connect users to long-tail items
      • tagging, comments
      • Amazon-style suggested resources
    • better catalogs
    • easier to use database searches
mounting pressure for libraries to keep up with these hi tech developments
Mounting Pressure for Libraries to Keep Up with these Hi-Tech Developments
  • Not be left in the past
    • musty archive of little-used, old-fashioned BOOKS
    • irrelevant to the online, multi-tasking, always busy, high-tech generations
  • Some proposals on the horizon
    • develop our "brand" beyond BOOKS
    • answer Web 2.0 with "Library 2.0"
    • market ourselves more appealingly
    • offer more interactive ways to find our books, articles, and information
the brand debate
The "Brand" Debate
  • "Brand" defined:
    • what people think we offer in a word or symbol
    • set of expectations people have for us
    • held by the culture – not easily changed
  • In OCLC Perceptions report
    • 96% think they know what libraries are good for – our BRAND
      • 70% BOOKS
      • 12% INFORMATION
    • Asked to reflect more deeply on the library's purpose/mission:
      • 53% INFORMATION – second brand potential
  • Possible approaches to changing our brand
    • advertise, present our information services better
    • be more appealing, useful, welcoming
    • become more interactive, fun, engaging
library 2 0 hi tech user engagement
"Library 2.0" – Hi-Tech User Engagement
  • Tagging by users of books they read
  • Amazon-like user reviews of books in the library
  • Libraries with RSS feeds
    • additions to the collection
    • events in the library
    • community events
  • Library blogs
    • messages from and dialog with the library director
    • events, news
    • suggestions, comments
  • Library wikis
    • book club discussions
    • "worst book" contests
  • Ways to make the library seem more modern
lower tech ways to appeal
Lower-Tech Ways to Appeal
  • Improve the physical library experience
      • minimize aura of not trusting the public
        • fines, warning signs
        • find a way to allow online library card privileges
      • more comfortable furniture
      • fewer negative rules
        • food, drink, talking
      • games, contests, social events and activities
      • computer friendliness: wireless, IM, podcasts
  • Focus on being allies, teachers of self-help
    • use reference interactions to empower users online
    • "You can do it. We can help"
      • Home Depot motto - taps energy of self-help culture
      • not "How can I help you?"
  • Focus on embellishing our books/info brand
    • "The library's like a public park for the mind"

Launch a new brand image

more interactive ways to find our books and other resources
More Interactive Ways to Find Our Books and Other Resources
  • Improved catalog search technologies
    • make controlled vocabularies easy to use
    • better browsing
    • relevancy and other ranking options
    • enhanced records ("look inside" books)
    • suggestions
    • multiple formats easily found
  • Examples
    • NCSU library
    • Santa Monica Public Library catalog
    • King County Library AquaBrowser catalog -
meta search in library resources
Meta-Search in Library Resources
  • Search multiple databases at once
    • Can include merging and de-duping
    • Can be sorted by full-text and not
    • Can be relevancy ranked
  • Advantages
    • promote use of licensed resources
    • less need to learn multiple databases
  • Disadvantages
    • may get too many results
    • may appear hard to use the results
  • Examples:
    • SFPL cross-database search
    • LAPL cross-database search
    • Thompson-Gale licensed resources
promote what we ve got online
Promote What We've Got Online
  • Improve your library website's findability
    • does Google rank your pages high in results?
    • are you in your city's Wikipedia entry?
    • is the library URL easy to remember?
  • Advertise
    • put your URL on bookmobiles, billboards, vans, banners
    • be present where people are
      • purchase a Google ad
  • Make a Library Toolbar
    • Effective Toolbar creator (free)
      • at
      • See Bookmarks for comments from LibrarianInBlack
keeping up see bookmarks for this course
Keeping UpSee Bookmarks for this course
  • Future Possibilities
    • links to articles, podcasts, and websites
  • Reports, Websites, Blogs, and Suggestions for the Future
    • Public Agenda report
    • Library Technology Reports issue
    • Stephen Abram article
  • Blogs to Keep Current - Selection

What other ways can you think of to

  • appeal to users?
  • empower them to succeed better at self-serving?
  • increase use of the online library?
  • get little used services used more?
  • embellish, change, or exploit our BOOKS brand?
exercise 6
Exercise 6
  • Action Plan
    • Write down up to five things you want to try to take to your library and DO
course evaluation
Course Evaluation