2018-Sessions & Presentations

The following sessions were accepted for presentation at Empirical Librarians 2018. This list includes both lightning and concurrent sessions.

Concurrent Sessions Abstracts

Lightning Talks Abstracts


















Concurrent Sessions

Assessing the expectations of academic study spaces: Multi-method approaches to student use and perceptions of campus study spaces – by Laura I. Spears

ABSTRACT: Academic libraries are increasingly transitioning their spaces from shelves with physical books to wide open spaces deemed ‘learning commons’ in which users expect to find all types of technology, furniture and other resources that support their expectations of study spaces. This presentation summarizes the efforts undertaken in three separate examinations of student ‘study space use’ at a large southeastern U.S. public university This presentation will examine the diverse methodologies used in conducting use studies of library and learning commons spaces by employing: 1) a straightforward online survey with complex dissemination; 2) a study space comparison using an online student survey with associated traffic data integrated for context; and, 3) a multi-method examination of space dedicated to graduate student studies incorporating traffic data specific to the space, survey data and user’s academic achievement data. The program will also detail the different analyses conducted based on the diverse types of response data collected that included descriptive and inferential statistics, and sentiment analysis. The presentation highlights that researchers must remain flexible as they select different analyses and allow the data to dictate methods used.

Citation analysis: How we did it, and what we’d do differently – by Jen Ferguson

ABSTRACT: Many libraries rely upon download or usage statistics for licensed e-resources to help make collection decisions. These data, useful as they are, do not indicate whether articles were read or if their readers found them valuable for research purposes. However, significant usage of a journal article may be inferred by its inclusion in an author’s list of references.

We examined articles published by Northeastern faculty members to determine 1. how frequently they cited articles found in our licensed e-resources and 2. whether those citation rates correlated with usage statistics. We found disciplinary differences in usage compared to citation rates, suggesting that citation rate data may be worth considering in collection decisions.

This session will describe the findings of this work, with particular focus on the methods and strategies we used to carry out this analysis. We’ll discuss some lessons learned the hard way, as well as unexpected beneficial outcomes from the project.

Embracing Uncertainty: Defining a Structural Model of Public Library Use and Services Using Large-Scale Public Use Data – by Ian Burke, and Duan Zhang

ABSTRACT: The Public Libraries Survey administered by the Institute for Museum and Library Services collects administrative data from more than 8,000 public library administrative units in the United States and its territories. Most research using this data has examined the relationship between observed inputs (such as library hours, number of full-time librarians, or per-capita operating revenue) and univariate outputs (such as circulation, visits, or program attendance). This session will discuss the process of using structural equation models to define, validate, and relate multivariate latent variables representing public library services and public library use. The application of multivariate benchmarks in library administration and program evaluation will also be discussed. Methods highlighted include confirmatory factor analysis, latent class models, and modeling hierarchical data using random effects.

Gauging the user: Testing the UX in an institutional repository after an academic library and a publisher collaborate – by Laura I. Spears, and Chelsea S. Dinsmore

ABSTRACT: The intent of this study is to assess the technical features implemented in the University of Florida’s Institutional Repository (UR@UF) to support the ingest of metadata for more than 30,000 articles published in Elsevier journals by UF authors since 1949. The features developed include procedures to identify user status, display unique icons to indicate the identified user status and then display the appropriate article content. The libraries conducted usability studies based on “Usability on the Fly’ task-scenario protocol with the objective of ascertaining user perceptions of the features in the UF@IR interface. Task analysis included process times and completion rates were measured and sentiment analysis was employed to measure the emotional range of responses when requested to complete various tasks using the enhanced interface. This project raised some known user issues (e.g., user navigation through pages with multiple functions) but the study also profiled the dissonance of adding access to materials which exist behind a paywall for some users to a discovery interface which is predominantly open access.This presentation will highlight the methods used to gather user experience data, providing a before and view of the revisions resulting from the feedback including refinement of the user interface within and the presentation of the Elsevier ScienceDirect results entry page. This task analysis method will be used to support future phases of the IR@UF-Elseview collection collaboration.

How to Give Them What They Want: Usability Testing of Library Website Resources for Graduate Students – by Kristina Clement, Brianne Dosch, et al.

ABSTRACT: The graduate student population is under-represented in academic library research and literature. This is due in part to the emphasis that academic libraries place on services and resources for undergraduate students (Gibbs, et al., 2012). In order to better understand and serve graduate students, the University of Tennessee Libraries sought to test the usability of their library website by observing how graduate student users accomplish specific tasks using the website. This test was performed in the fall semester of 2017 by six LIS graduate students from the IMLS funded Experience-Assessment cohort led by PI, Dr. Carol Tenopir. These future assessment librarians were tasked by the library to design and complete this study. The methods employed in this study included 1) pre-tests to gauge the participants’ internet experience and their experience with the features targeted towards graduate students on the Libraries’ site, 2) observations of website tasks done in person and recorded using Morae recording software, 3) think-aloud by participants while completing the tasks, and finally 4) exit interviews were used to collect participants’ perceptions of the Web site and their experience.

This session will focus on discussing the process and methodology of developing and employing a library website usability study geared towards graduate students, while also discussing impressions and lessons learned by the researchers about conducting a usability study within a large academic library. Researchers will also discuss how findings from the study will be used by UT Libraries staff to make improvements to the website design, including (1) making the website easier and more effective to navigate, (2) organizing the information content in a more meaningful way, and (3) developing better presentation of the content, all with graduate students in mind. Takeaways include the methodology involved in designing and conducting a usability study, the benefits of working as a team, and the ups and downs of running a study.

Learning to Conduct a Usability Study: from Personas to Data Visualization – by Abby Wintker, Olivia Frederick, Paris Whalon, and Tyler Martindale

ABSTRACT: How did six information science students cope with a formidable course of experiential learning? Tasked with investigating the UX of first-time users with a national laboratory website, this team of six assumed the roles of expert consultants, and tackled a full-scale usability project which culminated in a professional presentation to Lab stakeholders. In this session, we’ll offer our reflections on the educational opportunity of a lifetime. From eliciting user needs, to fleshing out life-like personas, to structuring an effective user study and collecting, aggregating, and interpreting data gleaned from a carefully-recruited participant sample, we’ll share which experiences were most valuable, which were most intimidating, and how this project changed lives and minds.

Systematic Assessment of an Organization’s Health Literacy Attributes using the Health Literacy Environment of Hospitals and Health Centers – by Kelsey Grabeel, and Emily Tester

ABSTRACT: Health literacy affects people of all ages and education levels. Librarians play an active role in helping patients find patient education that is easy to read and act on. While librarians have been active participants in helping patients, they need to take a larger role in helping to make changes to the healthcare system at their institution. This presentation describes the role of librarians in leading a systematic assessment of their organization’s health literacy attributes. The librarian led task force used the tool Health Literacy Environment of Hospitals and Health Centers (HLEHHC) to implement a targeted health literacy initiative that would serve as a catalyst for promoting changes in the healthcare system at the University of Tennessee Medical Center. The HLEHHC assessed the organization in regards to navigation, print communication, oral communication, technology, and policies and protocols. The presenters will discuss how the task force received institutional support, created the timeline, used the assessment tool, and the results for five health literacy attributes.

Prima di Tutto: Primary Source Literacy as a Foundation for Original Undergraduate Research – by Mireille Djenno

ABSTRACT: The mediated nature of primary source research involves unusual challenges for users and managers of these collections, particularly in the area of user education. This is especially the case for undergraduate students who may have limited experience conducting research of any kind.

Using the ACRL/RBMS Guidelines for Primary Source Literacy, as a framework, this interactive presentation focuses on strategies such as web support, flipped classroom techniques, and programming, that support the user education necessary for successful original undergraduate research in the humanities and social sciences.

In addition to a greater understanding of the logistical support needed to facilitate original research in the humanities, participants in this session will better understand the dynamics at work in effective collection manager/instructor relationships, as well as how to manage and optimize these relationships in order to make the most of the unique challenges and rewards of working with primary sources.

Show Them the Money: Providing Financial Support for Research Data Distribution – by Melanie T. Kowalski , and Jennifer Doty

ABSTRACT: In September 2017, Emory Libraries launched a Research Data Distribution Fund to provide support for researchers depositing research data in an established repository when no alternative funding is available. This fund builds off a suite of services provided by the Libraries’ Scholarly Communications Office tailored to supporting open research. The goal of the fund is to support sustainable global access to Emory University researchers’ data by encouraging use of established data repositories, such as Dryad and openICPSR. This program recognizes the increased need of our researchers for support to openly distribute research data.

Prior to launching the fund, the libraries received queries from researchers who were asked by their publisher to share data underlying their article. These researchers were seeking funding support for deposit with disciplinary repositories that require deposit fees. As a fund of last resort, the Research Data Distribution Fund provides Emory researchers with financial support to meet this growing need. We modeled the fund on our established Open Access Publishing Fund, limiting eligibility to non-grant funded research projects by Emory faculty, staff, or students.

This presentation will describe how to secure library stakeholder support for a fund, develop funding guidelines, promote and market a fund, and manage a fund within a suite of research support services offered by your library. We will also present general statistics on the Emory communities participation in established data repositories.

Using Surveys to Discover the Educational Needs and Preferences of Hospital Nurses – by J. Michael Lindsay, and Martha Earl, and Sandra Oelschlegel

ABSTRACT: Library education programs play a crucial role in providing hospital nurses with the research skills needed to implement Evidence-Based Practice.  However, if live classes are offered but attendance is low or non-existent, a clear issue exists in how to address these needs.  To investigate the education needs of nurses in an American Nurses Credentialing Center Magnet hospital, researchers sought to determine topics of interest, preferred instruction times and modes of delivery, as well as nurses’ interest in a research information skills certificate.  Researchers chose a survey of hospital nurses as the best research method, and met with nurse leadership and nurse educators to develop and distribute a survey instrument. Previously validated survey questions that had been used in surveys at the institution were chosen as a base question set including questions regarding job-title and work shift. To develop new questions that would determine the education needs of nurses and hospital staff, a literature review was undertaken. The final survey included questions regarding respondent preference for format and venue for classes, ideal time for in-person educational offering, and interest in a library-provided research skills certificate. Other questions included an invitation for participants to rank topic and skill areas, and questions designed to yield more background about participants’ professional development goals and desired information skills.  This nine item survey received exempt IRB approval.  The questionnaire was distributed via Survey Monkey through the nursing email distribution list by the Chief Nursing Officer’s executive assistant.  Researchers promoted the study effort through announcements at nursing shared governance councils.  Researchers sent a reminder email three weeks later to maximize response. The survey response rate was 58%.

Take a Walk on the Wilde Side: Applying Hybrid Analytical Techniques to Evaluation of Library Instruction – by Carol A. Leibiger, and Alan W. Aldrich

ABSTRACT: Researchers need to keep in mind Oscar Wilde’s observation that “[t]he pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple.” Librarian research is often limited to survey research or focus groups, with minimal quantitative or qualitative analysis. This presentation focuses on the analytical techniques used by the University of South Dakota library’s Instructional Team to interpret quantitative and qualitative evaluation data in more nuanced and meaningful ways. These techniques can be applied to other evaluation projects and contexts.

The Instructional Team collaborated with library faculty to create an evaluation and assessment instrument that could be administered in five minutes or less. Evaluation data were obtained from four closed-ended questions measured on a Likert-like scale, followed by an open-ended qualitative question. A final open-ended qualitative question assessed student learning.

During the analysis the researchers noticed discrepancies in the data. The quantitative evaluation data initially suggested strong student satisfaction with instruction. The overall average was 4.52 out of 5 on a Likert-like scale. However, the qualitative data responses identified problems with instruction. While many respondents expressed general satisfaction (“S/he did a great job.”), about one third provided feedback critical of instruction.

The researchers had to derive meaning from the skewed quantitative data, determine how to make best use of the qualitative data, and resolve the apparent conflicts among the quantitative and qualitative data. Straightforward statistical analyses of the quantitative data and deductive coding of open-ended responses were insufficient given the characteristics of the data set. Analytical conflicts such as these can be managed by putting the quantitative and qualitative data in dialogue using mixed-methods techniques. These techniques are quick and easy to apply, even with large data sets.

Attendees will learn about simple statistical methods that can be used to interpret quantitative data. Furthermore, they will learn to apply qualitative methods to analyze and categorize open-ended response data quickly and efficiently. Finally, they will learn to synthesize quantitative and qualitative data using mixed methods techniques that are easy to apply. Presentation materials and additional value-added content will be made available through a LibGuide.

Test Fest and the Tale of Too Many Post-its – by Sarah Arnold

ABSTRACT: At UNC Chapel Hill, the User Experience and Assessment department regularly runs usability tests to inform our decision making and prioritize our users’ perspectives as we make changes. But there are more things to test than there are hours in the day. Our projects have a variety of stakeholders who are very interested in improving their services, and we found ourselves with a long list of tests we wanted to run.

To catch up, we adapted Harvard Libraries’ Test Fest model: five tests run simultaneously, with five participants rotating through the set of tests. Over a span of two hours, we completed 25 individual usability tests. In this one event, we caught up on much of our testing backlog.

This session will outline how we planned and executed Test Fest and what we learned from using this approach. We’ll also discuss how we approached analyzing the large amount of qualitative data that was gathered during testing, via affinity diagrams and lots of post-it notes.

The focus of this session is on our methodologies with an aim to include time for attendees to discuss how they would have approached the backlog, setting up Test Fest, and analyzing the data.

Using Student Research Assistants to Support Research – by Taryn Marks, and Elliott Kuecker

ABSTRACT: One difficult aspect of being a librarian who supports faculty, graduate, or even your own research, is the time needed to conduct thorough research, empirical or otherwise. Using student research assistants can solve this problem, by having those students gather information, data points, articles, etc. Managing students, although ultimately beneficial to both the researcher and the student, does take time, organization, management, and people skills on the part of the hiring librarian. Building an excellent core of student research assistants requires more than simply advertising a position, and the experience can easily backlash if the hiring librarian has not sufficiently recognized and planned for supervising student researchers.

In this co-presentation, each of the two presenters brings to the table multiple experiences in hiring, training, retaining, disciplining, and relating to student researchers. During this session, participants will learn (1) how to identify and find strong student researchers; (2) best practices for managing student researchers, including creating explicit instructions and deadlines, relating to the student researcher, and organizing projects for maximum accountability and clarity; (3) trial-by-fire tips learned from supervising students conducting data-driven research that required entry of several thousand data points; and (4) soft skills for mentoring and providing constructive criticism to a budding student researcher, including encouraging the student’s own research. If time permits, the presenters will also discuss possible sources of funding for student research assistants.

When used appropriately, student research assistants can vastly benefit librarians who help faculty researchers or who do their own research, especially in empirical research projects. Student researchers can save a librarian time, create a positive image of the library amongst both the faculty and student populations, and facilitate lasting, beneficial relationships between hiring librarians and student researchers.

When specialization becomes a liability: the art of putting faculty needs first – by John Cruickshank

ABSTRACT: The role of the librarian as subject expert and consultant has been a preoccupation throughout the academic library world over the past couple of decades. This focus on specialization has contributed to the demise of the reference desk in many libraries, and has resulted in the hiring of specialists with expertise in non-traditional fields such as GIS, anthropology, and data curation, to mention but a few. How effective is specialization, really, as a strategy for meeting the needs of researchers? There are obvious limitations to the strategy, including problems with scalability of services, but questions also arise concerning the relevance of expertise to the real problems of researchers. Through a series of case studies involving thirty years of interaction with scientists working in highly interdisciplinary fields, this presentation examines serious barriers that typically hold researchers back in their own work, and how those barriers can be most effectively addressed by a careful and systematic application of methods documented in the traditional library literature, which are all too often overlooked. Each case study examines the effectiveness of a specialist’s approach, compared with that of skillfully-applied traditional problem-solving approaches, such as the information audit, the reference interview, and focus groups. As these case studies demonstrate, application of a specialist’s knowledge, together with traditional approaches in librarianship, can work synergistically to solve researchers’ problems, but this idea is often overlooked in the rush to bring specialization to the library community. Differences in organizational and disciplinary cultures also frequently create significant barriers to effective interaction between researcher and librarian, and these case studies demonstrate how tools of the librarian and anthropologist can work hand-in-hand in overcoming such barriers.









Lightning Talks

Learn, Do, Teach: Using research design to learn new skills and support user needs – by Beth Sheehan

ABSTRACT: In designing and conducting a study assessing of our library’s Data Purchase Program, I made an intentional decision to learn to use the qualitative analysis software ATLAS.ti to code our interview transcripts. Our library had seen increased demand for support in using qualitative analysis tools like ATLAS.ti which are provided on our library’s Scholarly Commons computer, but we had no resident experts. As the Social Sciences Research Services Librarian, I am responsible for supporting scholars’ research needs in anthropology, sociology, and interdisciplinary fields with a social sciences bent. This not only requires knowledge of discipline-specific information resources, but also an understanding of social science research methods and technologies. I’d never used ATLAS.ti before, but the best way to learn a new technology is to use it and teach it to others. Since the completion of this project, I have become the go-to resource for qualitative analysis software in our library, teaching workshops and taking patron referrals from many disciplines for one-on-one troubleshooting, consultations, and instruction in the use of ATLAS.ti for qualitative coding and analysis.

Staffed Desk or On-Call Reference Data: An accidental experiment – by Russ Dennison

ABSTRACT: When one university library moved to on-call reference services on Saturdays, one librarian forgot the change and continued sitting at the reference desk. This continued for years with that librarian working about 1/8 of the Saturdays. Two other short-term hire librarians also worked at the reference desk on Saturdays due to a lack of communication. Now the data has been pulled and tabulated to answer the questions “Does staffing the reference desk result in more reference questions” and “If so, what type of questions?” Statistical analysis shows a significant difference in the number of questions between on-call and on-desk staffing. Simple and directional questions that could be answered by student assistants at the circulation inflated that number. However, the removal of those questions still resulted in a significant difference.

Using personality tests in library research – by Jeanine Williamson

ABSTRACT: Personality tests allow librarians to discover characteristics of their users so that they can construct psychographic profiles that can be applied to library instruction, marketing, or developing other services. This lightning talk discusses how to select, administer, and interpret personality tests, as well as how they can be used to develop a psychographic profile of a user group. Although personality testing requires librarians to learn about psychological concepts that may not be familiar, it can be a worthwhile investment of time since personality traits can impact a wide range of behavior. For example, personality can be relevant to learning, receptiveness to different kinds of marketing messages, and one-on-one interactions. “How to” advice for using personality tests is given, and relevant ethical considerations are discussed.

When does patron-involved quality improvement become human subjects research? – by Scott Goldstein

ABSTRACT: There is a small literature on librarians conducting research with patrons and the responsibilities associated with going through the Institutional Review Board (IRB) process. However, the distinction between human subjects research as statutorily defined, which the IRB must review, and quality improvement projects typical in library settings, which the IRB would usually decline to review, has not been adequately addressed. Whether a patron-involved quality improvement project counts as human subjects research is often difficult to discern and depends entirely on how the institution’s office of research protection and/or IRB interprets the Common Rule. The Common Rule, the federal statute that defines what types of research are subject to regulation, is notoriously vague in this regard, although commentary in the research ethics literature would suggest that most quality improvement projects in libraries are not human subjects research. To explore this, I am currently surveying IRBs in the US to determine how and on what bases they would classify an archetypical quality improvement study performed in a library setting. Methodology for the project will be discussed as well as some of the initial results of the survey.

Utilizing service design to implement a university library laptop program – by Beverly D. Charlot

ABSTRACT: This presentation provides an overview of how utilizing service design assisted in the implementation of the university library laptop program. A needs assessment was conducted to determine if a laptop program was needed. Data collected revealed that there was a need and Phase I of the library laptop program was implemented. The library purchased 10 Hewlett-Packard ProBook Laptops and a mobile laptop charging cart. The library developed an in-house two hours checkout loan policy for student use. Student demand and checkout exceeded our initial expectation particularly during peak periods, midterms and final exams.

As a result, grant funds were obtained to ensure continuous improvement. The implementation of Phase II provided additional HP ProBook Laptops, laptop carrying cases, a mobile laptop charging cart, and software upgrades. The checkout loan period also increased from two-to-four hours to ensure student needs are met.

We are continuing to improve the program current lessons learned — more laptops are needed, additional software requirements are requested, and modifying the circulation policy to include overnight checkouts.

Keeping Up With Perpetual Motion: Research Lifecycle Support Services in Academic Libraries – by Jen Ferguson

ABSTRACT: Scholarly communication librarian, institutional repository manager, data management librarian, digital humanities librarian, copyright advisor—these are familiar specialist roles in many academic libraries, introduced in response to an increasingly complex research and publishing landscape. The services they provide may be best described as “research lifecycle support,” because these specialists interact with researchers at all stages of their process: seeking grant funding, organizing their data, negotiating author contracts and permissions, sharing their output in traditional or novel formats, and beginning again. But how should we best organize the services these staff provide into a cohesive set of offerings for researchers on campus? How can these specialists best collaborate with librarians in departmental liaison roles, who traditionally support teaching and learning as well as collection development in their assigned subject areas? This talk will briefly describe the development of a research lifecycle team at Northeastern University’s Snell Library, a process that is still very much a work in progress.

Research Is Not A “Dirty Word” – by Chris Barrett and Bharat Mehra

ABSTRACT: This presentation highlights a diverse range of information-related research activities that were undertaken during a one-year collaborative experience involving an information science faculty member and a graduate teaching assistant. Various types of research tasks and training with supervising professor included:

  • Searching, organizing, and representing course materials;
  • Creating, developing, and maintaining multiple course websites across different platforms (e.g., Canvas, Drupal, WordPress);
  • Exploring new methods in scholarly publishing industry (e.g., Digital Object Identifiers);
  • Applying methods of data collection and data analysis of a complex dataset for an original research initiative related to marginalized populations, diversity, and cross-cultural issues.

The learning objectives for the librarian-in-training in the collaborative work activities have called for application of diverse research-related skills and competences that provided curriculum support, resource development, and the creation of tangible information deliverables. Experiences dispel limited notions surrounding the term “research” that view it as disconnected from wide-ranging information-related work to support faculty in their teaching-research-service obligations within a professional milieu and an acceptable cultural etiquette and behavior.

Standing Out In the Field; How To Find and Support Researchers Not Based On the Home Campus – by Inga Haugen

ABSTRACT: Best Practices in Outreach and Research Support to Geographically Distributed Researchers:  Agriculture librarians at land grants charged with supporting Extension staff and the research farms have some unique challenges to navigate. However, any outreach librarian who needs to support geo-distributed stakeholder groups will recognize the same challenges. This lightening talk will touch on how to find the stakeholders, make connections, and evaluate services offered by the library to ensure the distance users have access.

Human Trafficking Research and the Role(s) of A Scholar-Practitioner Librarian – by Anchalee Panigabutra-Roberts

ABSTRACT: What does it mean to be an embedded librarian on an interdisciplinary research team? This lightning talk will discuss how a subject liaison can maximize her/his embedded role on a research team. The presenter will discuss how joining the research team means acquiring new skills to do research and to apply for federal grants. The talk will illuminate how this role can benefit both the library and the librarian’s own scholarly expertise and output. The concrete examples will be drawn from the presenter’s embedded role as a member of the human trafficking research team at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln from 2009 to 2013.

Library Support for the first doctoral program at Lindsey Wilson College – by Jessica Moyer

ABSTRACT: The first ever cohort of doctoral students at Lindsey Wilson College entered the dissertation stage this year, at the same time I was appointed as director of the library and liaison to the new (and only) PhD program. This lightning talk will present a brief overview of the current and planned information literacy and dissertation support, including how I have adapted the work I did with doctoral students at the University of Illinois