Resource Discovery Library Teachmeet at Staffordshire University, March 2015

Vicki McGarvey, Learning and Information Services Manager at Staffordshire University, reports on a recent CILIP ILG sponsored TeachMeet.

Photos by Sue Howlett.

On 19th March the Academic Skills Know-how team within Information Services at Staffordshire University had the pleasure of hosting another Teachmeet event, sponsored by the CILIP Information Literacy Group. This was the fourth of these events hosted by the ASK team, details on the previous events can be found at The event was well attended by enthusiastic participants from across the UK. The teachmeet format is a mix of short presentations intermingled with activities and they are great opportunities for practitioners to share their experiences within the context of the topic of the event. Details on how to host a teachmeet can be found at:

The focus of the event was on resource discovery and the user experience and the presentations and the activities addressed this theme. The day began with a presentation by Rachel McGuinness from Staffordshire University who discussed the research she had undertaken on undergraduate information behaviour. Her research findings concluded that as ugrads progress through their degree their knowledge of academic resources increases but Google still remains the most used resource. She also found that the main barriers to using academic resources were technical issues, lack of knowledge and confidence. Rachel suggested that ugrads would increase their use of library services if they had more information skills training in the third year, and if librarians continued to build their relationships with staff and students with institutional backing from a senior level.

The second presentation was from Catherine McManamon from the University of Liverpool, who gave an overview of user study that she was involved in at Manchester Metropolitan University on the resource discovery tool Summon, which is also the tool used at Staffordshire. The research techniques used were, survey, focus group and observational study. They found that a popular feature of the tool was full-text online, students were happy with the user interface but there was a lot of comparisons with Google and students were generally happy with the relevance of their results. However, some did not understand the terminology or how filters could focus a search. The result of the research led to more promotion of Summon through events and support material, and emphasising the optimising features available in the filters within the tool.

The morning was concluded by a presentation by Paul Biggs on incorporating open access into information literacy teaching. There is ubiquitous promotion of open access in research student and staff communities but Paul also suggested that open access resources can also be a useful enhancement to subscribed resources, he highlighted Google Scholar as a gateway to these resources. Paul’s approach had been influenced by his observation that in the sciences online materials are increasingly becoming freely available and on occasions finding an OA resource has saved the student the cost of a interlibrary loan. He introduces students to OA in level 5 and at level 6 promotes Scholar, CORE, Ethos, PubMed and OpenDoar, as well institutional repositories. He also gives pointers to students on how to evaluate the resources they find. Paul stated finding free material by an author can also lead students to find other material by that author.

After lunch the day concluded with a light hearted presentation by Paul Johnson from Staffordshire University on the future of resource discovery in a world of Google and library resource discovery tools. Referring to Guilhem Chalacon’s presentation at last year’s UKSG and the fact that he never mentioned the library catalogue, Paul queried what students want from their resources and he proposed that it is instant gratification. He also referred to the University of Utrecht where they have abandoned the library catalogue and are reconsidering the future of discovery tools. The presentation concluded that resource discovery tools should focus on easy discovery thus freeing the user up to evaluate the resources they find. This presentation was followed by Julie Adams also from Staffordshire University who gave an overview of the process the ASK-team had undertaken to redesign its library resources page in 2014. Using a survey the team had asked users what they thought of the existing page. The responses conveyed that users liked they information but wanted something simpler and less cluttered, that featured our resource discovery tool Summon. As a result of this the library resources page was redesigned using the libguide tool.

The main activity that ran throughout the day was a group activity. Separated into three parts, the groups were asked to design the Ultimate Resource Discovery Machine that addressed the needs of three user groups, students, academic staff, and researchers and to create a poster to illustrate this. During lunch participants were asked to vote for their favourite poster. The posters ranged from, mind maps, specifications and animals analogous to the usergroup needs, the following were main features illustrated on the poster – and if suppliers could capture these designs they would have a well targeted Ultimate Resource Discovery machine!

For students: voice search; personalisation; simple uncomplicated results; natural language; alerts; multi-device; auto-keyword; embedded social media; intelligent limiters

For researchers: open access; bibliometrics; collaboration; advanced referencing tools; mobile; citation searching; interoperability with repositories; different folders for different research activities; customisation of reference styles.

For staff: links with the VLE; widgets; own authored content; auto creation of course packs; peer-to-peer access; pay per view linked to faculty budget; reading list integration; statistics linked to student activity student feedback on resources; magic bibliography




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