Usability can be defined as how effective, efficient, and satisfying a service, product, or system is in meeting the goals of users (Jordan, 2000). Usability engineering is the process of identifying a performance goal or problem and systematically designing a system to solve or address that problem in a usable fashion. Libraries have traditionally served as the intellectual foundation for the communities and patrons they serve and given the proliferation of the Internet, online resources, and the emergence of monolithic for-profit book stores, usability and customer service have become a larger priority. Negotiating how best to assess, analyze, and deliver resources and services in a usable fashion, however, is difficult.
The academic library for a mid-sized public university in the southeastern United States has used a number of different methods to determine the needs of users and the challenge of meeting those needs in a rapidly changing environment. The library has a strategic plan that is frequently updated and identifies clear goals and metrics of performance for each department and the library as a whole. Methods for assessing overall performance and collecting data include annual user surveys, focus groups, analysis of usage statistics, and statistical benchmarking with similar sized libraries and universities.
The effective integration of technology is one of the more significant factors behind a library’s ability to meet the information needs of its users in an effective, efficient, and satisfying manner. The overall usability of these technology services is paramount for the library to attain its overall goals. Our presentation will provide a comprehensive literature review and recommend a process model for delivering and integrating technology in libraries to ensure its services meet the needs of its diverse population and contribute to the overall goal of impacting broader society.
|Keywords:||Information Science, Usability Engineering, Technology Integration, Library Technology and Automation|
Assistant Professor, Library and Information Studies Department, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC, USA
Assistant Dean, University Libraries, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC, USA