Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Internet Trends for Trailblazing Libraries

Beth McGough, Communications and Creative Services Manager, ProQuest

Mary Meeker’s annual Internet Trends report was released on June 1, 2016. Meeker’s insights on the economy and digital communication uncover opportunities for libraries. 
Meeker addresses economic and demographic changes, which create risks, but she takes an optimistic view. Opportunities exist for businesses (or libraries!) that innovate, increase efficiency, lower prices, and create jobs. Meeker states the Internet can be at the core of this evolution. (Slide 40)
Like businesses, innovative libraries can thrive despite changing economics and demographics. The Internet is already at the core of many library services and functions. How can libraries innovate further in this new environment?
Meeker details many trends and changes in her presentation which librarians can use to build innovative services and programs. 
Evolving communication and customer service in libraries
Several of the trends within the report detail new ways of communicating, particularly with Millennials and Generation Z. 
A key difference between Millennials and Generation Z is how they communicate. Millennials communicate with text while Generation Z communicates with images. (Slide 74) 
Monthly active users on select social networks and messengers, Global, 2011-2015This is important to take into account when considering how to reach library users in their teens and twenties. Whether putting together marketing campaigns or expanding customer service the best way to contact Millennials is through social media and chat. They don’t want a phone call! (Slide 107)
Communicating with images is a new challenge for librarians. Two ways to approach image based communication include communicating with emojis and growing graphic design skills within the organization. 
Opportunities for expanding reference service
Messaging apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are evolving rapidly into expressive communication channels. Businesses have recognized the importance of messaging apps and are developing ways to communicate with customers. 
Messaging apps can serve as new customer service channel. Messaging is conversational, contextual and threaded. A customer’s identity is clear, along with that person’s preferences and specific issues. (Slides 97-106)
Reference is a natural fit for messaging apps.    

Meeker covers many more trends in her presentation including live video, voice interfaces and mobile. See how her insights can inform your library’s future. 
This post was originally published on the ProQuest Blog

Thursday, June 9, 2016

3 Hot Social Media Trends for Libraries

This post was originally published on the ProQuest Blog

By Beth McGough, Communications and Creative Services Manager, ProQuest
What trends have emerged in social media this year? 
How do you determine if a social media trend is right for your library?
New platforms emerge and existing platforms change regularly in the social media world. To maintain a fresh program it is important to check out the latest trends in social media so you know where your patrons are hanging out online. 
To determine if a new social media platform is right for your library ask your patrons. Find out what sites and apps they are using. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Dabbling with streaming video or Snapchat doesn’t need to take a lot of staff time and it could pay off in a big way.
Too keep up with the latest social media trends follow blogs like David Lee King (Digital Services Director at Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library) and Social Media Examiner

Trends to try

Streaming video
Streaming video apps Periscope and Meerkat exploded during the 2015 SXSW conference. Since 2015, Periscope and Facebook Live have emerged as the favorite platforms. But, YouTube’s new live streaming app is one to watch. 
If you have a mobile device you can try live streaming video at your library. To determine what service to use, consider what social media sites your community is most active. Periscope is owned by Twitter and Facebook Live is through Facebook, of course.
Before your library’s first broadcast be sure to promote the event through the library’s social channels and in the library. Part of the appeal of live video is the ability to interact with viewers. Take advantage of engagement features to give viewers a great experience. After the event, make the video available to patrons that couldn’t make the live stream. 
Employee advocacy
If your library has socially engaged employees consider expanding the reach of the library’s social media posts with an employee advocacy program. In the context of social media, employee advocacy means activating employees to share the library’s social content. 
Employee advocacy programs are also a great way to evangelize social media throughout the library. Reluctant employees are more likely to try social media if they see colleagues using it successfully. 
Employee advocacy programs can be simple or take on more complexity depending on the size and culture of the organization. A successful program includes a solid social media policy, program managers and evangelists and ongoing measurement to track the program’s progress. 
Messaging apps
Messaging apps now have more active users than social networks. If you library is trying to reach teens and millennials understanding messaging apps is important. WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Kik are the most popular messaging apps in North America.
Messaging apps are private so it isn’t immediately clear how a library can converse with patrons in this space. Your library can take inspiration from the corporate world. For example, Adidas is using WhatsApp to build hyperlocal communities. Messaging apps are also a natural place for customer service just as email is used for customer service. 
Could your library pioneer reference service through messaging apps?

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Library’s Buzz

Dani Guzman, Product Marketing Director, Ex Libris

The buzz this month is all about how libraries can be improved, along with some evidence of the benefit that good libraries bring to the world. As we look for library best practices, we can learn from a new survey on the physical space librarians have to work in, suggestions for how to get the most out of patron feedback, National Information Standards Organization recommended practices, and the use of linked data in an academic environment, as well as evidence of a link between effective libraries and student success. And while all that was coming out, the British Library was busy giving “shelving books” a whole new meaning.

Looking ahead, the National Information Standards Organization is addressing how we share information in an academic setting. The organization is setting standards and publishing recommended practices for the information age. While the latest guidelines relate to Altmetrics, there are three other NISO documents that are worth a serious look:

NISO is seeking comments on all these draft documents, a project addressing the adoption, tools and impact of Altmetrics. Read more>>> 

Putting all the ways in which an academic library might be improved into action has a positive impact on students, as suggested in a recent report by the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL). The report provides compelling evidence, based on more than a year of research and dozens of projects, of the positive contributions of academic libraries to student learning and success. The report also hints at possible additional evidence of other means of positive impact a library can have on students in an academic setting. Read more>>>

In addition to the quality of information and services, some libraries might benefit from updated physical layouts.  The Library Journal published an article on a fascinating recent survey by Sasaki Associates in which academic librarians were asked about how their spaces affect the quality of their work. Most surprising for the designers of the survey was the oft-repeated response from librarians that “they had never thought about their spatial needs before taking this survey.” While it was generally found that academic librarians often simply “make it work” for them, the question becomes: Is that the best we can do? Read more>>>

And while we are on the topic of improvements that can be made to the library based on surveys, Aaron Schmidt, of the library user experience consultancy Influx, challenges us to rethink the questions we ask. Rather than asking library patrons about the library, he suggests asking them about their lives. With the answers to these kinds of questions, Schmidt argues, “we can create library services that people had no idea they needed.” Read more>>>

Drilling much further down into how librarians and libraries can operate more effectively, the 91st annual meeting of the Potomac Technical Processing Librarians addressed the practical application of linked data. The discussion delved in-depth into the need to transition to the current and coming data technologies. Presenters included Dorothea Salo of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Nancy Fallgren of the National Library of Medicine, Jackie Shieh of George Washington University, and Linda Wen of the Washington College of Law at American University. Watch the whole video>>>

Finally, with this month’s Buzz being about how libraries can be more up-to-date and convenient for patrons and librarians, we could not ignore the new wallpaper at the British Library in London. This specially-designed wallpaper features virtual library bookshelves containing some of the earliest and rarest editions of Shakespeare’s works. Using their smartphones, visitors to the library can instantly download first editions of fourteen of Shakespeare’s plays. (Bonus: check out the “Discover Shakespeare” section of the British Library website.) To share the technological fun more widely, the Digital Library has also been on tour in cities and rural locations across the UK. Read more>>>

Thursday, May 19, 2016

15 Must Have Marketing Tips for Libraries

By Beth McGough, Communications and Creative Services Manager, ProQuest

Tweets, blog posts, journal articles, listserv messages…How do you keep up with the latest news in libraries, not to mention catching up on the hottest marketing trends for your library marketing program? To make it a little easier, I’ve gathered 15 top tips and trends that will inspire creative campaigns and bolster your program’s technical edge.  
  1. Take risks, fail fast and learn from your mistakes (MarketingSherpa)
  2. Be authentic and empower employees to be the brand voice (MarketingSherpa
  3. Create visual content (Fast Web Start)
  4. Try live streaming video, such as Facebook Live (Facebook) (Mari Smith)
  5. Incorporate user generated content (Hootsuite) (Post Planner)
  6. Use social media to promote events from start to finish (Dr4Ward)
  7. Post to social networks at optimal times (Dr4Ward)
  8. Collect and use patron testimonials (Hootsuite
  9. Be sure your website is mobile-friendly (Search Engine Watch)
  10. Tighten up your writing (Moz)
  11. Know the SEO basics (Red Website Design)
  12. Focus on local marketing (Search Engine Watch)
  13. Measure against benchmarks (Social Times)
  14. Learn the language of marketers (Jeff Bullas)
  15. Utilize free tools (Moz)
This post was originally published on the ProQuest Blog

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Library’s Buzz

Dani Guzman, Product Marketing Director, Ex Libris

In this edition, the buzz is about identifying the changing ways in which library users actually search for what they need and how libraries can better meet their needs – in terms of interfaces, personnel behavior and physical design. And once a user has finally found what he or she is looking for, how can they correctly cite their digital sources? Are there even any standards to meet anymore? Finally, we look at the potential impact of artificial intelligence on all these issues and more.

On the Scholarly Kitchen website, Roger C. Schonfeld, a director with Ithaka S+R, takes a critical look at a recent report by Tracy Gardner and Simon Inger entitled, “How Readers Discover Content in Scholarly Publications.” Spoiler alert – he finds the study to have serious methodological shortcomings. While he therefore questions some of the results, Schonfeld also takes note of findings that he says “make good sense and deserve attention on their own merits.” Read more>>>

By studying how people actually use libraries, Aaron Schmidt argues in a recent Library Journal article, we can get a clear idea of how to make them better. To that end, he provides several ways to gather useful data on user experience in the library, from including as many personnel as possible in the research process to experimenting with changes to service blueprinting. The article can be seen as a complementary item to our own series of blog posts about UX design. However, Schmidt adds, the UX data is only a tool to guide and refine the librarian’s imagination regarding what they want their environment to be like. Read more>>>

After reading about how the library can be made more accessible to users, we can turn to what librarians need to be proficient in today. In her CILIP blog, Dr. Diane Rasmussen Pennington, a lecturer in Information Science at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, acknowledges the challenge librarians face in identifying which new technologies are worth investing time and resources in mastering. In this article, Dr. Pennington provides her own detailed and well considered list of such technologies, including a very valuable series of links for further study. Read more>>>

Drilling down into how scholarly information drawn from the library is eventually used, an article in the Scholarly Kitchen addresses the issue of source citation in the modern digital world. David Crotty, Editorial Director of Journals Policy for Oxford University Press, notes that CrossRef and the Digital Curation Center recently issued guidelines for best practices for data citation. These efforts at standardization are needed, he writes, to encourage more consistent citation of new sources of information in scholarly articles. Read more>>>

In the Library Journal, Steven Bell, Associate University Librarian for Temple University in Philadelphia, addresses the fear that all of the efforts at improving librarians’ capabilities will come to naught thanks to artificial intelligence. He writes that “eventually it will change the work of librarians—or make it irrelevant.” Bell admits that he once believed librarians were “irreplaceably robot-proof. Now I am less certain.” It may have been nothing more than a recent game of Go that changed his mind. To find out, read more>>>

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Primo Innovative Uses: Using Google Street View to Enhance the Discovery Experience

When you can combine Primo with a feature of one of today’s most useful and ubiquitous online tools – one that is also fun to use – you know you’ve got an innovation library visitors will love.
The feature is Google Street View.  But New Zealand’s Lincoln University is using it for much more than just a virtual tour (for that, check out this page of “libraries to visit with Google Street View”).
 “See Inside” and Know Where to Go
In a previous post, we noted the clever use of an on-screen map feature at Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil, with which Primo users can pinpoint the physical location of a selected resource in the university’s library collection. Lincoln University is taking this concept to a new level.
Lincoln University library is using Google Street View’s “See Inside” feature to virtually show Primo users the physical location of their selected resource in the George Forbes Memorial Library. Library visitors can then locate what they are looking for, having already “been there” (virtually). This can be much easier than understanding internal library cataloging systems.
Here’s an example of how it works:

When you click “Find/Request,” a “View on Map” hyperlink appears under “Location”. Click on that link and it will virtually transport you to the exact area of the library where you can find what you are looking for:
The Google “See Inside” feature is fully functional at the George Forbes Memorial Library, so the virtual visitor can move around the library, scan many of the shelves, or even find a quiet study corner.
Lincoln University is improving the experience of library visitors – even before they get there.
For more examples of innovation from Primo customers around the world, check out the Primo Innovative Uses booklet.



Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Citation Trail: Expanding the Reach of Research

Christine Stohn, Senior Product Manager, Discovery & Delivery, Ex Libris

Here at Ex Libris we are excited about our new Primo feature: the citation trail. The citation trail allows you to explore a topic and collect material by following a chain of articles that cite each other. This feature enhances serendipitous discovery and allows you to easily see the academic context of your sources. Read the press release here.

The citation trail works in two directions. For any given source you can see the articles it cites. At the same time, you can access another list of those articles that cite that source. This gives you easy access to important articles that will expand and enrich your own work. Watch this video to see how it all works!