The Instruction and Outreach Department manages and coordinates library research instruction for students, faculty and staff through course-related workshops, outreach activities, personal consultations, research guides and other instructional materials.

Our blog has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 6 seconds.
If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.

Friday, February 26, 2010

What do our users think of all of those LibGuides?

Following the lead of academic libraries nationwide, Duke Libraries jumped on the LibGuides bandwagon in July 2008.

In the last 3 or so semesters, 73 librarians, staff members and student workers have created and published 394 subject guides and course guides and in the first two months of this year, those guides have received nearly 34,500 hits -- not bad!

It's clear that patrons far and wide are using these guides, but we wanted to know more about their experience with them. Do they like long lists of databases and resources, or are short, targeted lists the way to go? Are they interested in commenting on resources they find particularly useful, or do they view that as a waste of time?

UNC-SILS field experience student Alice Whiteside and Emily Daly spent a couple of afternoons at the Duke's Bryan Center and polled 13 undergrads, 1 grad student and one staff member to get a sense of what users want from their LibGuides. We asked each user to select a guide from the LibGuides homepage and then asked the same 17 questions of each participant. We began noticing trends around user 10 and decided to end our study after 15 interviews.

Here are the highlights:
  1. Users generally like the look and feel of LibGuides, and for the most part, guides met their expectations
  2. Users prefer an uncluttered interface but perceive very sparse guides to be less useful than those with more text and boxes
  3. Users do not consistently notice the tabs across the tops of LibGuides
  4. Users prefer short, targeted lists of resources with short descriptions of each resource
  5. Users believe that there is no need for a commenting function
And here are a some recommendations based on our findings:
  1. Limit number of tabs to 4-6, and keep tab labels short (1-2 words)
  2. Consider labeling the first tab of guide something other than “Home” (e.g. “Getting Started”)
  3. Consider highlighting top five resources in a given area/format and then linking to or mentioning others, if necessary
  4. Consider adding short descriptions to titles of resources, especially to those whose names are not clear (MLA, CIAO and PAIS mean nothing to many of our users!)
  5. Disable comments feature
Interested in learning more? Contact Emily Daly for the full report, including the script we used for testing.

No comments:

Post a Comment