Let's talk tech. Choosing a library system is a difficult and harrowing task, and determining if or when to change is even harder. Current technology is beginning to move in a direction that favors a more integrated model, and choosing a web-scale discovery (WSD) model is quickly becoming a popular choice. The library's public interface team which includes representatives from all JHU libraries, concluded that seasoned researchers know what they're looking for and how to access it. However many undergraduate students don't know what they're looking for will be overwhelmed by the data and may not know how to compare and measure one source against another, so the team concluded that they needed a public interface tool guiding undergraduates to commonly used resources-- simple is sometimes best.
|From Randall Munroe's xkcd.com|
For the public interface, the library makes use of a combination of open source projects (Xerxes, Blacklight, Umlaut) implemented to power their public Catalyst search. Behind the scenes they use EBSCOHost to index articles and present an "article search" option to searchers. This proliferation of open source tools and complicated code is all run by dedicated programmers. When it comes to choosing resources, they make a point to vendor presentations and visit conferences in order to make a decision - which they do as a group. It's important to find the right resources for the faculty and students who may need it, and it's also important to be good stewards of your library's resources. Depending on the researcher or faculty member it's not uncommon for them to request a specific resource, so there are special considerations to be made on occasion.
ArticleSearch will undergo evaluation as the semester wears on. The services are measured by usage and feedback by the users - students can pass feedback through their program's liaison (who may have requested the service in the first place), and the library as a whole is measured byLibQual's survey. The baseline data gathered is used in considerations for change rather than ongoing evaluation so as to remove the rose-colored glasses of 'how things could be' and see realistically 'how things are'.
Before purchasing new eresources to make available to the JHU academic community, they have vendor presentations and selectors attend conferences. Also in making a decision, they do as a group. It's important to find the right resources for the faculty and students who may need it, and it's also important to be good stewards of your library's resources. Depending on the researcher or faculty member it's not uncommon for them to request a specific resource, so there are special considerations to be made on occasion. Also selectors often request a trial. If the trial expires without much feedback, the service is let go and life moves on. It was noted by Heidi that "If we don't have something and [the graduate students] need it, they will tell us." If this is the case, the service will be reconsidered the following semester.LibGuides are used and moderated by the subject librarians and liaisons to complement the classes of the programs. However, as time has gone by, certain collections have warranted their own separate LibGuides independent of the classes which study the materials (Example: Africana studies). Every guide is kept up to date (almost all of them have been updated within the last year), and among the most popular ones is the one concerning e-books - but we'll talk about that more later.