User community

Due to resource constraints, no library is able to digitize everything. Please propose a scheme to determine the digitization priorities based on past retrieval patterns specific to your library’s user community. Or describe the inadequacy and deficiency found in common practice.

When librarians determine what kind of digital resources they need to have, user community is usually a key point here. Because librarians develop collections for their patrons, the study of user community is very important to both collection development and evaluation. Also, the collections are more likely to be used if they meet patrons’ needs. So I think the digitization priorities should give to those materials that are frequently used and need more copies other than print ones. Or librarians need to consider digitize those print materials that are nearly damaged, for example, some old books with loose pages.

I think user community is important to evaluation of both the digital library and its collections. For the CAPM project described in A Framework for Evaluating Digital Library Service,  it is evaluated by different focus groups and workshop. The two focus group contains JHU undergraduate students and faculty. The workshop participants includes a group of economists, librarians and information scientists. They also have conducted a final survey by email. I think they have done a good evaluation on their CAPM project, because they have tried to consider all users’ opinions. And those methods could be used  to evaluate digital collections, too.

Then, I find that CAPM project is very interesting and have some thoughts related to it.

According to the article, because many print materials are shelved in off-site facilities, they are not accessible immediately to the patrons. Thus, “the CAPM Project was initiated to address this lack of browsability.” I think that if all the print materials can be browsed easily by using robot, then the digitization priorities may change. Many print materials do not need to be digitized, because they can be scanned once they are needed. But it is important to compare the cost of using robots and the cost of digitization. The cost of robots can also be compared with the ILL service.

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2 responses to “User community

  1. Great points yiwenw. I am not sure about the cost of a robot to help with browsing. While this library was able to use it, I am not sure other libraries will be able to fit it into their budget. Also, this appears to be limited to libraries and probably wouldn’t work for archival materials or special collections.

  2. yiwenw, I agree with your statement, “Because librarians develop collections for their patrons, the study of user community is very important to both collection development and evaluation.” I agree that the evaluation process should begin before the DL is even created. User needs and difficulties should considered through each phase of the evaluation and assessment process.

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