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Five Year Program Review 2010-2015

Using the ACRL Standards for Libraries in Higher Education as a framework, the Harvey A. Andruss Library performed a Five Year Academic Program Review for the Years 2010 to 2015.

Principle 4: Discovery

4. Discovery: Libraries enable users to discover information in all formats through effective use of technology and organization of knowledge.

4.1 The Library organizes information for effective discovery and access
4.2 The Library integrates library resource access into institutional web and other information portals
4.3 The Library develops resource guides to provide guidance and multiple points of entry to information
4.4 The Library creates and maintains interfaces and system architectures that include all resources and facilitates access 
from preferred user starting points
4.5 The Library has technological infrastructure that supports changing modes of information and resource discovery
4.6 The Library provides one-on-one assistance through multiple platforms to help users find information

Background

To address these points the Library draws upon feedback provided through the 2012 LibQUAL survey, a national measure of patron response to physical and virtual library structures, informal observation of patrons, and feedback from students and professors during and following instruction.

Discussion

The Library’s online catalog records match professional standards even while the backlog is being addressed. The Library must devise a long-term plan to process materials as they arrive, and therefore have the ability to accommodate large donations and other sizable inflows of materials.  

Students and other researchers have numerous interfaces to services and resources.  Research Guides are now in place for a majority of subject areas, and other principal areas such as University Archives and Special Collections. Several interface improvements have been made on the Library’s homepage including a uniform login, experimentation with the Discovery layer, and Google Scholar access.  Although the Library’s website redesign addressed many navigational, educational, and aesthetic attributes, more needs to be done to improve the Library’s web presence, particularly the online catalog, and to a lesser degree the Discovery layer.  Library personnel continue to look for ways to integrate the Library’s services and resources into University’s course management system.

Although overall frequency of one-to-one research assistance has dropped, this does not diminish the value of this assistance to the students who take advantage of it.  This drop in overall activity, as is nationally observed in the profession, coincides with a steep increase in group information literacy instruction.  Largely as a product of this lower frequency and increased online availability to librarians, the Library introduced a new research assistance model whereby research librarians are on-call, as opposed to stationing themselves at a reference desk.  The new on-call system is working well, based upon experiences of Library faculty, Library staff, and students and other patrons.  In addition to the on-call system, the librarians have positioned themselves in new places on campus for research assistance, chiefly McCormick Center for Nursing students and Sutliff Hall for Business, Economics and Instructional Technology students.  This experiment has been well received, and the Library must consider how to effectively match times of availability with student patterns.   

Library personnel are dedicated to investigating and implementing technological options that support student research and research instruction.  The Library’s website is already easily accessed by mobile devices, and the Library supports ongoing research and development of its technological infrastructure with the goal of staying abreast of current and relevant information technology trends. 

Library personnel plan to continue to experiment with technologies. The Library will continue to reevaluate its services, adapting to researchers’ needs, habits, and preferences, as evidenced by the Library’s adoption of the on-call research assistance system.  Librarians will continue to monitor and discuss the on-call research assistance model.  Similarly, user studies should be done to test the website’s usability, but there has been insufficient time and personnel for this. A great deal on this matter and others will come to light from the findings from the 2015 LibQUAL survey.

4.1 Effective Discovery & Access

4.1 The Library organizes information for effective discovery and access.

ACTIONS

Cataloging

The Library provides a catalog of its holdings, owned and leased. Bibliographic information is included in the online catalog for Library-owned materials in all formats (e.g. print books, journals, and government documents, media, microforms, digital materials) as well as for leased print or demand-driven ebook collections, and subscription collections of ebooks, streaming music, and streaming video.  The catalog currently contains information on 827,829 titles. Enhancement of bibliographic records for print books with tables of contents and/or summaries is provided in-house and by vendor services in order to facilitate keyword access.  Authority control is applied regularly to headings for all owned materials to ensure consistent, complete subject and name access regardless of changes in terminology over time. Care is exercised in the classification of print books to ensure consistency and appropriateness and, consequently, the grouping of like materials on the shelves and in the catalog for effective physical and online browsing discovery.

The Library provides finding aids for archival and special collections materials.

Metadata for those digitized Archives and Special Collections materials available via the ContentDM interface includes keyword-searchable summaries, captions, and transcripts, while the newspapers and magazines digitized through Olive and the publications through the Internet Archive are completely full-text searchable.

The Library provides a website for online discovery.  The Library uses the LibGuides platform for its website to organize and provide access to all of the Library’s resources.  LibGuides streamlines the research process by allowing students to more readily identify materials for use on-campus and remotely.  Library personnel work to comply with the LibGuides platform upgrades and update the homepage and all associated pages in response to patron feedback and new options. The webpages for Archives and Special Collections were migrated to the LibGuides platform during Summer and Fall 2015.

The Library makes efforts to organize and facilitate access to all of its materials.

At the beginning of the review period, there was a backlog of uncatalogued library materials. Towards the end of the review period, the backlog was in the initial stages of being organized and incorporated. Additionally, archival and special collections materials are organized and added if they are suited (by policy) to the foci of the collections and as they become available.

OUTCOMES

Patrons have access to Library resources that are organized according to universal good professional practices.  Patrons have access to a structure that provides intellectual connections from one item to another via the organizational schema within the catalog. 

Patrons have access to the Library’s archival and special collections materials through the finding aids.  Patrons have access to a structure that provides intellectual and structural connections based on provenance.

Patrons, regardless of location, have access through the Library’s website to structures that provide intellectual connections and concrete finding information for all the Library’s collections.

Patrons will have access to the additional valuable backlogged materials and archival/special collections materials as they become available.

4.2 Integrates Library Resource Access

4.2 The Library integrates library resource access into institutional web and other information portals.

ACTIONS

The Library’s website/resources are available via secondary links from the University’s main page, but there is no direct link from the University’s main page.

The Library unified its login process for off-campus users.  Now students and faculty use the same login information to access the Library’s online resources as they do their email, online course management system, and their individual student information account.    

The Library has a nominal presence in BOLT, the University’s learning management system.  There is no universal and automatic integration of Library resources into individual courses in BOLT because campus practice indicates that course-level links or materials are under the purview of the individual instructor.  Library personnel have customized materials ready to place into BOLT course pages and are very willing and interested in providing those across the board to online learners and teachers should the campus make the opportunity available. In the meantime, with permission or invitation from individual subject faculty, Library faculty provide course-specific library information to subject faculty, who post it as Announcements and/or in course syllabi on their BOLT course pages.  Within the general BOLT framework, there are links to the Library’s website under the drop-down menus for Student Resources and Faculty Resources.  Some librarians have requested or been offered the ability to function as Course Builders or Assistant Instructors and have the abilities to manually add content and interact directly with students.  Library personnel continue to seek opportunities to expand student access to Library resources and assistance through BOLT.

The Library has participated in Google’s Library Links and Library Search programs for Google Scholar since 2006. This enables students and faculty to access library-subscribed or library-purchased materials through a Google Scholar search both on and off campus. The Library registered for the Library Link program through Serials Solutions, which makes article-level links available. The Library also participates in the Library Search program through its membership in WorldCat, a heavily used catalog of library holdings worldwide to which the Library submits its holdings’ records.

The Library makes archival and special collections materials available electronically via ContentDM, the Internet Archive and Olive.

OUTCOMES

Students and other patrons are able to access the Library website from the University’s main webpage via second-level links.

Students, faculty, and staff no longer deal with the confusion of multiple login points and user information.  This minimizes obstacles for students and faculty researching both on-campus and off.

Students have direct access to course-specific Library resources via the learning management system if their professors authorize those arrangements.  Although all students have access to the Library’s homepage as part of a set of general Universal links within the learning management system, students do not necessarily have access to course-level resources.

Through Google Scholar, students, faculty, and staff can identify and access full-text, and can also access the Interlibrary Loan form to request a print article via document delivery, or an unavailable article via Interlibrary Loan.

Students and other patrons can identify BU materials listed in WorldCat.  Furthermore, because the University participates in a network of worldwide sharing, they can also request materials through Interlibrary Loan.

Students and other patrons can find and use electronically available archival and special collections materials.

4.3 Resource Guides

4.3 The Library develops resource guides to provide guidance and multiple points of entry to information.

ACTIONS

Library faculty create research guides and web pages for a wide array of audiences and purposes, including ones for students, faculty, and other audiences such as  Pennsylvania residents, Bloomsburg University student clubs, fellow librarians at BU and elsewhere, and local high school students.  

Library faculty have made discipline-specific research guides, to provide specialized guidance and resources on a broad or introductory level. These discipline-specific research guides are now a part of the University’s Writing Fellows program and increase the visibility of Library services for students and faculty.

Library faculty have also made course-specific Research Guides, to treat nuances of research pertinent to some courses in the curricula; guides are created at the request of faculty members, and librarians typically create unique guides to support information literacy instruction sessions. These guides are offered each time there is instruction and routinely made available through the Library’s website and, with the instructor’s permission, through BOLT.  Further, the Library faculty have developed extensive Special Topic guides on research-related topics, such as Government Documents @ BU, the General Library Research Tutorial, and the Literature Review, as well as community-related guides including those for the Bloomsburg Investment Group (student group with community and alumni members), Recycling Resources, and the Citizens’ Guide to Legal Research. Other specialized guides include offerings for Off-Campus students and Faculty resources.  Most recently, the Archives and Special Collections web pages were migrated to the LibGuides platform, making it searchable using the Library website’s search box. In addition, finding aids have been written for processed materials found in the University Archives and Andruss Library Special Collections.

OUTCOMES

Through user surveys following instruction and informal feedback, students and other patrons report that the guides are useful, and the guides provide a sense of ownership, structure, and easy access to resources needed for assignments.  

Students and faculty have access to searchable Archives and Special Collections web pages and resources using the LibGuides search feature on the Library homepage.

4.4 Interfaces & System Architectures

4.4 The Library creates and maintains interfaces and system architectures that include all resources and facilitates access from preferred user starting points.

ACTIONS

The Library maintains and updates its own website to facilitate access to Library resources. The Library has used LibGuides for its entire Library website since 2009, when the former Social Sciences Librarian/Webmaster became interim Library Director, and responsibility for the website was assigned to the Health Sciences/Science Librarian/Database Coordinator and the Government Documents Librarian. Because the LibGuides platform was developed specifically for libraries, it allows for easier editing and updating of the website. From 2009 until 2013, the website design was adequate in representing the Library’s many resources and services but lacked coherence because there was not a body or structure to set priorities as new content for the website continued to arrive. In addition, the Special Collections/Archives pages remained on the old interface and, while retrievable through internet search engines, was not integrated with the new content.

Following feedback from a 2012 LibQUAL survey, the newly appointed Library Director initiated a comprehensive restructure and redesign of the Library’s website.  In 2013, an ad hoc website committee was created to overhaul the Library homepage to improve access to important and commonly needed resources, including prominent links for off-campus access, study spaces, available computers, building hours, and research assistance.  The redesigned website was launched in the summer of 2013.

In summer 2015, the Health Sciences/Science Librarian/Database Coordinator and the new Library faculty support staff member migrated the existing website to an upgraded platform, which incorporated the Special Collections and Archives pages.

The Library started offering EBSCO’s Discovery Search (EDS) in 2013; EDS is a discovery layer that enables researchers to look for books, journal articles, audiovisual materials, and digital archives in one interface. At that time an EDS search widget (called Search Everything) was added to the Library’s homepage. The initial integration of the search widget proved technically challenging and the launching of the new redesigned website required further technical modifications.  The arrangement is now mostly sufficient, but more work will need to be done over the next five years to improve the integration. This widget was further modified September 2015 and renamed Search Everything @ BU so that searches were limited to results from the Library’s collections and subscriptions in order to benefit the broader base of less experienced users; Library personnel will continue to monitor user experience and needs.

The Library is a dues-paying member of the Keystone Library Network consortium, the staff of which creates, maintains, and troubleshoots the system architecture for the Library catalog and associated discovery mechanisms.  In addition, the KLN assists in the development of architectures for Archives and Special Collections.

OUTCOMES

Students and other patrons find EBSCO’s Discovery Search very effective and easy to use. However, it is not a perfect system; sometimes owned materials do not appear when they should or non-requestable materials are included when they should not be. Nevertheless, usage of EDS has grown substantially since implementation, from over 13 million searches in 2013 to over 76 million searches in 2015 to date. Anecdotal evidence based on comments from students who knew the old system and received instruction on the new indicate that overall the change has been a positive one.

Librarians and staff members have a website development software that makes it easier and less time-consuming to maintain pages and guides.  They know that some transitions will require additional technical support.

Students and other patrons reported varying degrees of satisfaction with the Library’s website. In the 2012 LibQUAL survey, a significant number of students reported that it was difficult for them to do their research independently using the Library website. Students will have a fresh opportunity in Fall 2015 to respond to the LibQUAL survey; as of this writing the findings of the 2015 survey are not available.  

Students and other patrons will have access to a more current website because the latest version of LibGuides makes it easier to maintain and update. As a result of changes made, patrons can now more easily choose: 

  • the Search Everything @ BU box for the EBSCO’s Discovery Service
  • links for the A-Z database list
  • databases by subject
  • BU Journal List
  • research guides  

Furthermore, with the incorporation of the University Archives and Andruss Library Special Collections pages into LibGuides platform, patrons have the ability to search the entire contents of the Library’s website.  BU students, faculty, and staff have access to all of the Library’s electronic resources remotely.  

Students and other patrons can navigate easily from databases to full-text articles or to an Interlibrary Loan form via SerialsSolutions 360 Link Resolver. Furthermore, users can also easily navigate from Google Scholar to full-text articles and an Interlibrary Loan form because the Library participates in Google’s Library Links and Library Search programs.  Students and other patrons, according to survey and other feedback, do not find PILOT, the online catalog, user friendly.  For example, the search limits are difficult to find and use.

Students and other patrons have easier access to finding aids for archival and special collections materials via system architectures (Archives Space) supported by consortium staff. While LibGuides hosts all other information related to archives and special collections holdings, Archives Space provides access to standardized finding aids listing the contents of the collections and serve as their online catalog.

Users overall appear satisfied with the Library website; usage has remained fairly constant with some growth. However, the 2015 LibQUAL survey will provide more user feedback.  Although the Library uses Google Analytics, there is currently no procedure for review of the data to reveal patterns of use.

4.5 Technological Infrastructure

4.5 The Library has technological infrastructure that supports changing modes of information and resource discovery.

ACTIONS

The Library has the ability—through University, consortial, and vendor services—to make purchased and subscribed digital materials discoverable through the online catalog and Library website.  The wireless network is accessible throughout the building and the campus. The Library has optimized the mobile interface for its web site.  Additionally, full text access to BU resources is made available through Google Scholar.

The Library offers EBSCO’s Discovery Search, to identify materials regardless of format, including the holdings listed by the Library’s online catalog. An Open URL link resolver, SerialsSolutions 360 Link, enable researchers to locate materials either outside or in conjunction with research databases.  

The catalog offers students the option of texting call numbers and locations to themselves.  The Library’s technology promotes navigation to its print collections, and eases this process to the extent possible.

The Library uses Springshare’s LibAnswers platform, which allows librarians to answer reference questions via email, instant messaging, text messaging, and Twitter.  Research librarians use a dedicated cell phone to provide the On-Call Research Assistance service.  Research librarians may also use a tablet that is dedicated for librarians’ use with patrons. The Library uses subject guides and LibAnswers to provide advice at any time, especially when no librarian is available.

OUTCOMES

Students and other patrons may tap into the Library’s information inside and outside the building, through a variety of devices, and from many starting points.

Students and other patrons can follow a citation trail to go from known citation elements and/or search terms to the actual desired item.

Students and other patrons can use a familiar device like a cell phone to carry call numbers with them as they navigate the print collection.

Students and other patrons can search the Library’s webpages and collections, receive research assistance, and request interlibrary loan / document delivery from any location, through any device, and at any time.

4.6 One-on-One Assistance

4.6 The Library provides one-on-one assistance through multiple platforms to help users find information.

ACTIONS

In 2014, Andruss Library’s Research Assistance service evolved into an on-call arrangement, whereby in-house researchers come to the Circulation Desk in order to ask for a Librarian to be called to assist them in the workspace of their choosing.  This model was instituted to replace the traditional Reference Desk arrangement, in which Librarians generally remained at a fixed location that was not near students’ computers.  In the Fall of 2014, librarians began providing On-call Research Assistance in lieu of the traditional Reference Desk. The rationale for the change was to have the librarian work with students in the student’s own work space, as opposed to the student working in the librarian’s space.

The “Ask a Librarian” icon on the Library website directs students and other patrons to chat, email, telephone, and texting options.  As time and circumstances permit, Librarians rove throughout the building to engage students in their research.  The Research Assistance schedule is posted online, and patrons can get contact information for individual librarians. Subject faculty frequently refer students to liaison librarians for individual research consultations. Similarly, by reputation, students often refer their fellow students to Library faculty for research assistance.

Librarians schedule research assistance consultation times in other building on campus in collaboration with subject faculty. These times/hours are often planned around assignments.

OUTCOMES

Data of frequency, audience, and READ scale for one-on-one Research Assistance as well as comments from patrons from the Basic Assistance Survey and Research Assistance Survey may be reviewed in Appendix A

Students and other patrons now have more access points for one-on-one assistance and they have convenient ways in which to request and receive that assistance.  Students and other patrons have ready access to research assistance in the workspace of their choosing and when they need it. Students and other patrons find one-on-one consultations with librarians to be very helpful. Results from 2014-15 Student Survey given at the end of a consultation indicated that the overwhelming majority of users either located the information they asked for or found other information that would be helpful for their research.  Students recommend the one-on-one assistance to their classmates and friends. Some students return to the librarian’s office with follow up questions.  Some students feel comfortable approaching the librarians whose offices are visibly located on the second floor.  Librarians receive fewer basic assistance questions since access services staff will sometimes be able to assist students who initially contact the circulation desk.  Librarians have the flexibility to work in a space of their choosing (e.g. office, Archives, stacks, etc.) when not working with a patron.  

Students and other patrons can request research assistance through the medium of their choice.

Students can receive research assistance coordinated with their class assignments and in the classroom buildings with which they are familiar and find convenient

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Information Literacy Instruction

Off-Campus Access

Interlibrary Loan

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Reserves/Fair Use

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Research Consultations

Renew Books Online

Request a Purchase

Group Study Rooms

Open Computers

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Library Fines

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Suggestion Box

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