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>>>

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