Current Projects

For 2019, I’m focussing primarily on some data visualization and web content projects.

Data Visualization

We are starting to really break down data that we have collected from our instance of SpringShare’s LibAnalytics–which we use to manage our AskUs reference service–in meaningful ways. The two specific projects that we are currently using this data for are revamping our liaison program and revising/rewriting job descriptions for all members of our reference (Education & Reference) department.

For the liaison program project, we are able to break out reference questions and data about the patrons asking the questions–to which campus academic unit do they belong; are they students, faculty, staff; and what types of questions do they ask? For example, the data shows that almost 53% of AskUs questions that come from the School of Medicine came from faculty, but only 10% came from students. This suggests that we might want to consider how to market the service specifically to students in this academic unit.

For the job description project, one of our primary goals is to evaluate how accurately the documents describe the work that we each perform on a regular basis. Data collected about which members of the staff do what, and how much, work, will help us to create benchmarks as a department, and help me (as the department head) best manage our group workload and workflow. We will also create uniform components of position descriptions that cover duties common to all/most, specifically staffing AskUs, conducting 1-1 consultations, teaching, liaison work, and searching, and clarify roles and responsibilities, ensuring that the strengths of all individuals fill a clear leadership role within the department.

Web Content

Like many libraries, we are currently struggling with decisions about what kind of web content should be presented in our LibGuides and what kind of content should be presented in our Drupal web site. In 2018, we inventoried all of the guides and web pages in both platforms that belonged to our department–about 400 items!!–with the hopes that some clear pattern between the two platforms would emerge to help our decision. It didn’t.

However, we have since brainstormed the beginnings of a content strategy: since most of the LibGuides are created by staff from our department, framing the guides as tools to support our reference, teaching, and liaison work seems to make sense. Ideas that are emerging include having a guide for each non-curriculum class that we teach and to have a guide for each of us for liaison information. This works for us in concept as a medical campus, as it’s roughly a 1-1 librarian-per-academic unit pairing.

Finally, in our Teaching Team, we are working on developing a suite of video tutorials for an asynchronous instruction offering that we have dubbed “Library 101.” One of our goals is to embed these tutorials inside of Canvas, the campus’s chosen learning management system (LMS), so that teaching faculty and students can discover and access them easily. Our hope is to have all of the videos completed by April 1.

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