Giving Your Services That Human Touch
by Dick Kaser
Let’s face it: Take away our devices, and we’re all just people. The gadgets we hold in our hands are tools that help us achieve our ambitions, goals, and desires. This issue is about realizing your own potential by taking human factors into account.
If you want others to cooperate in surrendering documents to your digital repository, appeal to their egos and the pride they take in their work. That’s what authors Jessica Dame and Sheila Dorsey did at the South Carolina State Library in order to achieve their preservation mandate.
If you want students to use research databases, write up the descriptions so that they make sense to the students. At Loyola Marymount University, librarians did just that by conducting usability tests and then developing write-ups that speak better to student needs.
If you want your patrons to have a better search experience, it’s beneficial to determine why they aren’t using the existing features in your discovery layer. It could be that you just put the facets on the wrong side of the page. Kaci Resau (Washington and Lee University) walks you through how she found out what to change.
And what about your FAQs? Matt LaBrake (Berkeley College) tells you how he fixed his FAQs to provide 24/7 virtual reference and self-support at every point that users might conceivably need it and in a way they will actually notice it.
This issue is all about human factors. But no article in this edition speaks louder to the human condition than the tale of Kim Moore, who teaches students at a private school not only how to document their work in an e-portfolio, but how to reflect on themselves in the process.
This issue is itself only a cross-section of the many things librarians are doing to improve the digital experience. As you read it, I hope it inspires you.
Dick Kaser, Executive Editor
P.S. See you at Internet Librarian and Internet Librarian International later this month.