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!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Increasing Student Conversion

This post was originally published on the campusM Blog

A student’s relationship with their school starts a long time before they begin their study, even before they arrive on campus. 

This time can be stressful for the students as they embark on a new part of their life, and for institutions who want to make the process of moving from applicant through to registered student as easy and seamless as possible.

The Challenges

Schools want to attract the best students in a competitive market place – to do this they need to stand out from the crowd, and increasingly students are looking for value add items to make their study experience value for money.

Once the student has signed up to your institution keeping them there is the next big challenge. Student drop-out rates can have major implications going forwards, with loss in revenue from fees, accommodation, on-campus spending, as well as the cost involved with recruiting new students to replace those who have not continued their study.

The Mobile Solution

Many schools are now looking to their mobile app as a way to connect with students during this vital time of admissions and transition. Giving them easy to access, personalized information and services, on the technology that they are using every day, increases student satisfaction, and can also improve retention throughout this process.

We’ve recently done a case study with Lancaster University in the UK who wanted to use their campusM app to increase the number of prospective students who made Lancaster their first choice university. They saw an increased conversion rate of 14% of students who used the app making Lancaster their preferred university.

Monday, April 18, 2016

How News is the Next Best Thing to a Tardis

This post was originally published on the ProQuest Blog

In 2015, ProQuest conducted a study on researchers’ use of news resources. This is the fourth post in a five-part series focused on the study results and use of news resources in research. 
After looking at how users conduct research over a six-month period, we gathered a great deal of noteworthy data. When it comes to searching news content, full-text news articles published before 1980 are the most preferred content type. Researchers want to travel further back in time to explore what people thought, the current events of the day, and lifestyle and purchasing habits. In addition to full-text news articles, researchers were most interested in the front page/cover story of a newspaper, and news articles in context where product advertisements, entertainment listings, photos and images, and cartoons are shown alongside articles revealing more about the past. Reading first-hand accounts from the past and comparing them to today’s news provides researchers with fresh perspectives. 
Historical newspapers are indispensable primary sources for research. As newspapers cover multiple disciplines, they are a great resource for the comparative analysis of political, economic, social, and cultural issues. Seventy-nine percent of researchers use news sources regularly to support their research, according to the latest ProQuest faculty users survey. Large news collections provide big data sets that enable researchers to study a topic over a significant period of time.
In some instances, newspapers offer the only source of information about people, speeches, activities, and property where documents and reports have been destroyed or lost through natural disasters, fires, and other forms of destruction. 
While time travel a la Tardis is impossible in the real world, physical travel, though appealing for the adventurous, is not always possible. Online historical newspaper collections are the next best thing for searching newspapers from around the world, spanning centuries. A researcher’s time is maximized and discovery-optimized without having to travel far from home. With the added advantage of being able to locate news articles from international newspapers, researchers can easily gather multiple perspectives on global issues.

The popularity of historical news is not limited to academic libraries. Public libraries regularly help their patrons search and find local historical coverage. They also serve a variety of users – from students doing class assignments to freelance journalists and from independent family history researchers to local history enthusiasts. There are few resources that bring the past to life in the way that digital historical newspaper archives can and that offer researchers the vital first impressions gained from reading accounts of events written at the time they occurred.  
Source: ProQuest News user surveys, 2015

Friday, April 8, 2016

Context is King in Research

This post was originally published on the ProQuest Blog

In 2015, ProQuest conducted a study on researchers’ use of news resources. This is the third in a five-part series focused on the study results and use of news resources in research. 

Context is an essential component in research. Researchers need up-to-date information to stay well-informed of issues and events. Current news helps researchers assess the extent to which their research topics are relevant or on point with trends. In addition, they typically also need to demonstrate the relevance of their studies by referencing matters that concern the wider public. News content is an important gateway, helping researchers’ bridge theory with practice.
The news offers researchers a window on society – real concerns, opinions, and debates – to help them evaluate research topics. Moreover, by assessing a variety of news sources from multiple publishers and mediums, researchers can evaluate and respond to how a particular topic is being represented. This is useful in establishing bias in reporting and conducting a critical analysis of sources.
Historical news digital archives are an important resource for researchers. Apart from the convenience offered by digital access, researchers have the ability to view actual articles as they appear in the news source. This helps them get a sense of the time a story was written, the relative importance of an article at the time of publication, the relevant terminology, and type of news article, such as an editorial, advertisement, image or cartoon.  
When looking for topical information to support their research, researchers can pick up minute details in news articles that may be left out in subsequent publications. The news is also an excellent source of data for triangulating information to come up with the most credible or reliable findings.
Research that does not connect to real life issues is at risk of becoming obscure and underutilized. Researchers, therefore, have an important role to play in educating other professionals and the public by linking theory and real world events. News stories offer the opportunity to connect ideas and issues, not only locally but also globally. Indeed, a ProQuest study on usage trends demonstrated that researchers are increasingly relying on international news sources to explore topics, conduct comparative analyses, and expand the scope of their study areas.
In an assessment of newspaper usage preferences across a sample of ProQuest users, contemporary news (from the 1980s-forward) was found to be more popular with academic researchers, while public library and government researchers were seeking information mostly from historical periodicals. What the overall study revealed is that researchers have a desire to compare specific events, people and places through several viewpoints. An added advantage is the ability to track a story over time by cross-searching current issues with archival content from ProQuest Historical Newspapers.
News sources are an important center-point in learning about and understanding the world around us. They help researchers gain global and contextual perspectives for their work and, in turn, this helps them connect with readers by tying research to current events. 
Next week, read more on ProQuest’s study of researchers’ use of news sources.
Source: ProQuest News user surveys, 2015