Director, Education and Public Services
Associate Director, Center for Instructional Technology
University of California, San Francisco
Visiting Program Officer, Library Support for Research and e-Science
ARL Director, Cyberinfrastructure Initiatives
Special Assistant to the Dean of University Libraries for Biosciences and
University of Washington
These two projects illustrate different approaches to assessing faculty needs. The University of Washington (UW) project focused on the bioscience community needs and used several qualitative methods for collecting data, as well as mining some quantitative data. The results were rich in content and proved helpful for understanding the changing needs of this community. At the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), an online survey was used to assess general faculty needs regarding collections, space and services. The survey was partly driven by campus space planning efforts to review new uses for Library space.
UCSF Faculty Survey on Library Space, Services, and Resources
As part of the UCSF library’s strategic planning effort, in July 2006 the Library asked faculty at all sites to complete a survey to help us determine what resources to acquire, what new services to develop, and how to reconfigure Library space to meet current and future needs of faculty and students. Space needs was a key aspect of the survey because of ongoing discussions to repurpose Library space for other campus purposes. Of 2,028 faculty invited to complete the survey, 620, or 31%, responded. Almost 300 narrative comments were also provided to supplement the multiple-choice answers, indicating a high level of interest in these topics.
The survey results provided useful input to space planning efforts. A similar survey of students the previous year focused on space needs and the faculty perspective complemented that data. Responses included some concrete needs for collections and services that we were able to address and thereby demonstrate the Library’s commitment to responding to faculty needs.
Limitations of the survey were also evident from the data, e.g. lack of clarity in some questions and potentially “leading” questions.
Specifically, the survey addressed these issues:
• Adequacy of online journals and resources
• Off-site storage of print materials
• Place-based library services
• Temporary workspace for faculty based off campus
Responses were tabulated by school (dentistry, medicine, nursing, pharmacy) and by primarily role (educator, researcher, clinician). In most cases, significant alignment based on these groupings was not observed, but there were a few questions where it played a role. For example, educators and clinicians were more interested than researchers in assistance in managing images and multimedia for teaching.
Handout UCSF (MS Word)
UW: Bioscience Information Needs and Use of Libraries
Suspecting a lack of congruence between the bioscience community’s needs and the Libraries’ services and resources, the University of Washington Libraries charged a task force to examine the information needs and behavior of this user community, how the Libraries responds to those needs, and make recommendations. The work of the Task Force took place throughout 2006.
What we did: The Task Force used multiple methods to collect and analyze information for this review. New information came primarily from qualitative efforts such as key informant interviews, focus groups, and an open-ended questionnaire for peer libraries. Other information mined from existing data sources included UW Libraries surveys, and library and institutional data. The qualitative results corroborated the existing quantitative data.
What we learned:
• Bioscience is becoming a networked and data-driven science
• Bioscience accounts for more than 80% of externally funded research at the UW and more than half of all faculty
• Faculty see the provision of e-journals as the Libraries’ most valuable contribution to their research
• The network of branch libraries is now viewed as a barrier to interdisciplinary research
• There is an expressed need for personal information management tools.
• Libraries’ connection to the bioscience enterprise needs strengthening
• There is a pervasive lack of awareness of Libraries’ services and resources
The data gathered has significant implications for the UW Libraries. The task force drew conclusions regarding the Library as place, organizational structure, and marketing activities. In addition, the results clarified our objectives for information discovery and delivery and ways to better support increasing interdisciplinarity. These findings, and the mandate to move forward with them, are now being incorporated as priorities in the Libraries’ 3-year strategic planning process.
Handout Univ of Wash (MS Word)
PowerPoint Presentation Univ of Wash