Facing the Music: Are Information Professionals and Researchers Dancing to Different Tunes?

Jane Stevenson and Lukas Koster

Slides available at SlideShare

A researcher walks into a library/archive*. Do they:

a) Find exactly what they want quickly and easily

    b) Become increasingly frustrated by the mysteries of cataloguing and collection management and just settle for whatever they can find

c) Give up, go home, and use Google instead

* Delete as applicable

Are we, as information professionals, really designing our discovery systems to meet the expectations and search patterns of our users?

One of the key responsibilities of university libraries and archives is supporting researchers. Libraries and archives have put a great deal of time and effort into making their collections available and accessible, typically by providing search-and-find tools for different types of collection, focusing on their own content types and taking their own expertise and methods as a starting point.

Does this approach really match the needs of researchers? Researchers tend to want subject or discipline specific publications, research project information; data of all kinds, from any relevant source. They are not usually concerned with collection types. Besides that, they also need support for workflows, collaboration, publishing, data collection and management.

We will highlight how perspectives can differ and conflicts of interest may occur in the dialogue between information professionals and researchers, setting the stage for the exploration of some intermediate and long term solutions, which will be set against a backdrop of projects and user evaluations, carried out at our own institutions, that put user needs and requirements into the spotlight.

Jane Stevenson is a qualified archivist with over 20 years experience. She works for the Mimas National Data Centre at the University of Manchester, a centre of expertise to support the advancement of knowledge, research and teaching. Jane is responsible for the management and development of the Jisc-funded Archives Hub service, a gateway to descriptions of UK archives, representing over 200 repositories across the UK. She has taught and presented widely on archives discovery, cataloguing standards, EAD and issues around interoperability. She is an active participant in the UK Archives Discovery Network and a Trustee of the UK National Jazz Archive. She is a bit of a jazzer, and tickles those ivories in her spare time, as well as enjoying bread-making and running (not necessarily at the same time).

Lukas Koster is Library Systems Coordinator at the Library of the University of Amsterdam, responsible for digital library information systems, mostly Primo at the moment.
After  a sociology degree and additional training in ICT, he worked as systems designer and developer in institutions of higher education and scientific information. Since 2003 he has been working with library search and discovery systems at the National Library of the Netherlands and the University of Amsterdam.Lukas is currently working on a pilot project linking publications in Primo to research projects data in external research information systems and corresponding datasets. Lukas has been seen playing guitar and singing at library conferences. He likes bread eating and running, possibly at the same time.

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