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General User Surveys and Other Methods for Quality Assessment – User Knowledge and Evidence-Based Library Development

Konferensbidrag (offentliggjort, men ej förlagsutgivet)
Författare Håkan Carlsson
Tore Torngren
Publicerad i 10th International Evidence Based Library and Information Practice Conference EBLIP, 16-19 June 2019 Glasgow, Scotland, University of Strathclyde
Publiceringsår 2019
Publicerad vid Göteborgs universitetsbibliotek, Bibliotekskansliet
Språk en
Ämnesord Quality assessment, academic libraries, user surveys, user knowledge, ethnographic methods, library development
Ämneskategorier Biblioteks- och informationsvetenskap

Sammanfattning

Aim A key component of library management is meeting the needs of our users. This requires continuous analysis of user experience followed by library development. The aim of this study was to better understand the use and effect of general user surveys (GUS) and other methods of gathering user input for quality assessment and improvement of library activities. Methods Data collection was done via surveys, which were sent out to the library directors of all 308 European LIBER university libraries. The response rate was 42%. After survey collection the free-text answers were coded and categorised and then the results were analysed. Results A majority of the responding libraries (77%) have performed a GUS during the last four years. Of these libraries, 54% reported changes to services based on the surveys. The most common method of obtaining user input was by placing a digital “user suggestion box” on the library website. The next most common method entailed using systematic processes to ensure continuous quality improvements. Discussion/conclusion Nearly half of libraries develop their own survey instruments. Appropriate follow-up after the survey was important in order to assure library development. The key step was producing a written report, which increased success in changes to services by nearly 50%. Changes were observed in all traditional library areas, with most changes reported for the areas of physical library standard, communication/marketing and quality of information literacy education. The changes implemented were typically small steps leading to substantial improvements, rather than larger strategic shifts. Small libraries have limited resources and difficulty arranging large user surveys. They reported higher usage of methods performed in the physical library. The library strengths most valued by users were in the areas of the physical library, researcher support- especially in the area of scholarly communication- and information literacy education. User feedback helps build institutional profile and image. Analysis of the different methods revealed information regarding which methods give the best understanding of the users.

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