October 9, 2015

Academic Libraries

Harvard Launches User Research Center

Harvard User Research Close Up

In August, Harvard Library opened its User Research Center (URC), where library staff can discuss, design, and implement in-person and device-based user experience research. According to Susan Fliss, Associate University Librarian for Research, Teaching, and Learning and Director and Librarian of Monroe C. Gutman Library, this is the next step in a change in focus for Harvard’s library system. “Over the past several years, Harvard librarians and staff have been investing time in developing skills in anthropological survey design and user testing. While we had many people who were undertaking user design projects, the projects were dispersed across libraries and schools.” By creating a centralized Research Center, Fliss hopes that Amy Deschenes, Library User Experience Specialist, and Kris Markman, Online Learning Librarian, can coordinate usability efforts across all of Harvard’s libraries.

ProQuest Acquires Ex Libris, CEO Sanford Discusses

ProQuest Ex Libris logos

In a move that will combine two of the world’s largest academic library solutions providers, on October 6 ProQuest signed an agreement to acquire Ex Libris Group from private equity firm Golden Gate Capital. Officials stated that ProQuest’s information resources and expertise in electronic resources management will pair well with Ex Libris’s library automation tools, combining to span “print, electronic, and digital content, as well as solutions for library management, discovery, and research workflows,” according to a joint announcement.

Credentialing to Establish the Library’s Presence | From the Bell Tower

Steven Bell

When it comes to providing employers with information about a student’s skill set, the college transcript does a poor job, yet it’s the current standard. New approaches to credentialing could change that—and create an opportunity for academic librarians.

Altmetrics Ambassadors | Academic Libraries


“Altmetrics: A manifesto,” published five years ago this month, described an academic publishing landscape in which the volume of literature was exploding, and the three traditional filters used to help researchers gauge the relative importance of individual papers in their fields—peer review, citation counting, and a journal’s average citations per article—were failing to keep up. Scholars were moving their work onto the web, and alternative, article-level metrics drawn from online reference managers Zotero and Mendeley, scholarly social bookmarking services such as CiteULike, or even page-views of blogs and “likes” or comments on mainstream social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter could be used to track the impact of new research in real time, wrote ­Impactstory ­cofounder Jason Priem; Wikimedia Foundation head of research Dario ­Taraborelli; Paul Groth, then-researcher VU University Amsterdam; and Cameron Neylon, then–senior scientist at the Science and Technology Facilities Council. Could these new metrics be just as relevant as peer review and citations when judging the impact and influence of new research?

Oxford U. Press, U. of Utah Library Collaborate on Study of Suicide Ethics

Ethics of Suicide_cover_square

Oxford University Press (OUP) and the University of Utah’s J. Willard Marriott Library have joined forces on The Ethics of Suicide: Historical Sources, a hybrid print book and interactive digital archive. Compiled over nearly four decades by Margaret Pabst Battin, distinguished professor of philosophy and medical ethics at the university, the scholarly work comprises a 752-page volume published by OUP, linked via embedded QR codes to an extensive archive of source material hosted by the Marriott Library. The searchable archive contains excerpts, links to primary texts where available, and local library catalog records, and can be accessed independently of the book and free of charge. In addition, readers may submit comments to the archive—corrections, addenda, or suggestions of other material for inclusion.

Demco Buys Boopsie

Demco Inc., a major library supplier, acquired Boopsie, a leading library app vendor, the companies announced today. The acquisition, made via Demco’s parent organization Wall Family Enterprise, was completed September 30. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Charleston Connections | Charleston Conference Preview 2015

Photos courtesy of Charleston Convention & Visitors Bureau

The theme of this year’s Charleston Conference, SC, November 4–7, is “Where Do We Go from Here”—and, really, isn’t that the perfect articulation of the underlying theme of every library conference? But as LJ’s John Berry said in last year’s Charleston preview (“Uniquely Hospitable,” LJ 10/1/15, p. 38ff.), no matter what changes each year brings, the under­lying focus of Charleston remains “Issues in Book and Serial Acquisition” for academic and research librarians. As Big Deals shrink and journal prices rise, ljx151001webCharleston2acquisition models proliferate, and monographs join articles in the open access funding fray, there is no shortage of such concerns for attendees to sink their teeth into, in and around enjoying the famous foodie offerings of the host city.

Tamir Borensztajn and Deirdre Costello on Eye Bytes, Cognitive Load, Effective Outreach, and other aspects of the Digital Shift

Tamir Borensztajn

On October 14, Library Journal and School Library Journal will host their sixth annual virtual conference, “The Digital Shift: Libraries Connecting Communities.” EBSCO Information Services is a Platinum Sponsor of the conference, and LJ reached out to Tamir Borensztajn, VP Discovery Strategy, and Deirdre Costello, Senior User Experience Researcher, to participate in this series of interviews addressing libraries’ evolving role in using the latest technology to connect patrons to the information, tools, and services that they need—and to one another.

Delving Into Leadership Development Programs | Leading From the Library

Steven Bell

When we find ourselves in leadership positions, but also find that we lack some essential skills or would like to build upon our existing knowledge, many librarians turn to leadership programs. A new book shares research and insights into what makes those programs tick.

An Interview with Peter Suber on Open Access | Not Dead Yet

Cheryl LaGuardia

Cheryl LaGuardia interviews open-access expert Peter Suber.