Scholarly communication within the library

The “traditional” library setting has undergone a ground-breaking shift in the way that end-users obtain scholarly information. When it comes to discovering content, librarians have found themselves in an environment where their users favor convenience over quality. However, end-users are not always satisfied with the results which stem from free search engines that overlook optimal resources. How can librarians add a personal touch to their library services to improve scholarly information so that quality research is not compromised?

This white paper, published in June 2014, examines specifically how libraries can meet end-user needs and expectations.

Key findings

Understanding users

  • Most librarians take a reactive approach to conducting user research to understand resource needs, relying on professors or faculty to approach library staff with requests.
  • The most important goal for librarians is the educate end-users of the breadth of e-resources that currently exist within the library and increase usage.

The increase of electronic resources

  • End-users (both faculty and students) typically access e-content through library websites, Google, and other internet search engines.
  • 82% of faculty and 78% of students typically access e-content with personal computers.
  • The library’s physical space must adapt to support the decline in print resources and increase in electronic resources.

Physical characteristics of libraries

  • Librarians rated the following characteristics as the most important in terms of enhancing user experience: individual and collaborative workspaces, computer and tablet labs, meeting rooms, and video conferencing.
  • 77% of students regularly access e-content whilst in the library.

Marketing within the library

  • Librarians cite end-users’ misunderstanding of the most effective ways to search for content in virtual libraries as the most problematic issue in terms of marketing.
  • 66% of librarians do not have a marketing plan in place to promote e-resources to end users.
  • The three most effective tactics to market content to end-users are library-hosted webinar tutorials, electronic advertisements, and newsfeeds on library websites.
  • Lack of time is the most problematic issue with respect to implementing a marketing plan for the library.