Tag Archives: Feedback

LIS website usability testing

The LIS Website team invites LIS Staff to help us out with our usability testing activities. Many of you have already been involved–either through your work during the building phases of our site, or by sending us feedback about the site–and we thank you for your input. We will be incorporating these observations into our recommendations for changes and adjustments to the site.

As we turn our focus to usability testing in the form of observational testing sessions, we want to provide the opportunity for interested LIS staff to participate. The LIS Website team’s current usability testing plan involves using an audio/video/screencapture tool, and coordinating and conducting testing with student, faculty, and staff testers (along with other methods).

Please note: if you submitted questions to the usability testing form that was previously advertised, you do not need to resubmit them—we have them in hand and will incorporate them into our testing. If you have additional tasks or questions you feel are essential for testing, please send them to liswebteam@middlebury.edu. If you are interested in helping us with the testing, please let us know by emailing the team. Thank you!

Enhancements to Millennium – balloting

The software/database that generates our library catalog, Millennium, is produced by Innovative Interfaces, Inc.  Each year at this time, the Innovative Users Group (IUG) conducts balloting to determine which improvements to the software, of those proposed, its members most want.

This year, I will be collecting choices from local (Middlebury) users and submitting our collective ballot to IUG.  There are several modules of the Millennium software that have proposed enhancements: Acquisitions, Cataloging, Circulation, Coverage Database Products (includes Electronic Resource Management), Create Lists and Reporting, INN-Reach, Serials, System Functionality, and WebPAC.  Because of the proprietary nature of the software, the proposed enhancements are password-protected.  If you are interested in voicing your opinion about any of these modules and have not yet received a list of proposed enhancements for the module of interest, please send me an email.  The deadline for getting your choices to me is Tuesday, April 6th.

Announcement of change in LIS Screening Policy

Dear Colleagues,

I’m writing to let you know of a change in LIS support for film and video screenings that will go into effect for the Spring 2010 semester. Due to staffing and budget reductions in LIS, we are no longer able to provide projectionist assistance for screening videos in DVD, VHS and Laserdisc formats.

Nothing will change for regularly scheduled screenings in Dana, Twilight Aud., and AXN 232. LIS will continue to hire student projectionists to support screenings in these rooms, and you should continue to send your screening schedules to LibReserves, and the Helpdesk as early as possible before the start of the semester to schedule screenings and place DVDs on reserve. This also means that any 16mm and 35mm screenings will run through LIS. The new LIS website, when it launches, will provide an on line request form which will streamline your process for making these requests.

LIS will not support “impromptu screenings” with less than 1 week’s notice. We will need at least a week’s lead time to support any screenings that have not been scheduled at the beginning of the semester.

For all screenings in rooms besides Dana, Twilight, and AXN 232, it will now be faculty’s responsibility to run the screening or arrange for a student screener. You should still place your DVD titles on reserve via the LibRes email box – include the date/time of each DVD title to be screened so that LIS can “book” the title for your screening, effectively blocking others from checking them out prior to your screening. You should contact Stewart Lane (wlane@middlebury.edu) if you need to be trained on the projection equipment in a given room.

Faculty who cannot attend their screening should plan to hire a student in the class to serve as projectionist.  This will be run through the department, as with other student workers. LIS Staff members will not be available to run screenings, except for exceptional circumstances. If you will have a designated student screener, you can email Stewart Lane (wlane@middlebury.edu) if you would like them to be trained. You should also email the name(s) of your designated student screeners to Circulation Services library_circulation@middlebury.edu, so that the student screeners can be granted the appropriate loaning privileges.

While we understand that this is an inconvenience for faculty, the reality is that at our present staffing levels Media Services simply cannot dedicate the time to scheduling and training students at the level they have been. LIS is committed to hiring and training student assistants to staff the Helpdesk during the day and in the evenings so that in the case of difficulties with equipment, there is always someone available to come to the screening location to assist.

Please let me know if you have any questions about this issue, and if you have any suggestions for how we can improve this process.


— mike

Michael Roy

Dean of Library and Information Services

The Not to Do List Process

In response to our shrinking staff and shrinking budget, we’ve had to take a hard look at the services we offer, and in many cases either eliminate, reduce, or radically change those services. We thought it would be useful to document the process we’re using to make these decisions, both to encourage us to continue to do this hard work of looking critically at our services, and to make sure that the proper amount of consultation and vetting is taking place as we change our services to match our available resources. Here are the steps we’ve been taking:

1. We’ve challenged all of LIS to come up with ideas for things we can do less of or stop doing or do differently. That idea gets written up, documenting what the present service level is, what the new proposed service level would be, the savings in time or money, and who would be affected by the change.

2. The idea is discussed within the workgroup and/or area as a first step. Conversations across workgroups, areas, and with groups affected by this proposed change are encouraged.

3. If the idea seems worth pursuing, the idea is added to the central list of ideas we are vetting.

4. The ADs will provide the first level of vetting.

5. The managers group will provide a second level of vetting, to try to capture any unintended consequences. This happens on two tracks. The idea is sent out via email, and if there are no objections, we move it forward to the next step. If there are objections, we pause to discuss further.

6. Once it has been internally vetted, as appropriate, we share the idea with any or all of the groups listed below, using the same fast track/slow track method of gathering feedback:(More information about some of these groups can be found at http://sites.middlebury.edu/lisadvisors/ )
1. Faculty LIS Advisory Group and/or divisional advisory groups
2. Student LIS Advisory Group
3. Academic Affairs
4. President’s Staff
5. Banner LEADS
6. Academic Dept Chairs

7. Once fully vettted, we’ll implement the change and communicate the change to the affected members of the community.

While this process seems complicated, we think any given idea should be able to be vetted in a month or less, depending on various meeting schedules and agendas, and depending on whether or not the idea moves on the fast track or slow track.

We will shortly publish on the web both the list of reduced services and also the list of service reductions under consideration.

Please contribute to our new wiki pages

To help readers find what they need, the LIS Wiki soon will feature audience-specific collections of links to content in the wiki. The LIS Website Team needs help compiling these lists of links. Make your favorite wiki content more visible — log in and contribute!

What LIS wiki content do you want LIS Staff, College Faculty/Staff, Students, or visitors to see?  Please add links to these pages by next week:

We’ll review these audience-specific pages at our meeting on Wed 1/20.  When they’re ready, we’ll revise the LIS wiki opening page so that it directs users to them.  Anyone still will be able to search the wiki, but users who want to browse will have a new option.

If you have feedback or questions, or if you need help with editing the wiki, let us know!  Post a response here in the blog, or write to liswebteam@middlebury.edu.  Thank you in advance!

LIS Suggestions Board

At last, we will have a permanent space for LIS feedback in the atrium of the Main Library.  Look for the LIS Suggestions Board near the HelpDesk soon–the photo of the LIS genie will be hard to miss.  The first topic you’ll see there:  “Help us save money wisely:  What’s most important?  What can you do without?”  Responses will be posted to the board and to the LIS Suggestions Blog (http://go.middlebury.edu/lissuggestions).

Creating effective surveys

Summarizing Markless on surveys:
A major pitfall of surveys is that they “often project designers’ preconceptions out to potential respondents” and thereby dilute the value of the responses. General tips: Give clear instructions for answering the questions! Don’t use library/technology jargon! Some types of questions we can use:

Closed questions: Questions with several answer choices (with check boxes), and with a catch-all at the end.
e.g. I will use the LIS website to:
Find resources X
Get technology help X (etc….)
Anything else? Please say what! X (with space for answer)
Open questions: May best follow closed questions, i.e. “Why is this?”
Simple checklists (with check boxes), and a catch-all at the end:
e.g. Why did you use the website today? Check all that apply
Find resources X
Look for information X
Get help from a librarian X (etc…)
Other, please say what! (with space for reply) X
Likert scales: Highly likely/highly desired with boxes to highly unlikely/highly undesired
e.g. I will return to use the website in the future to do X
select one box
Highly likely  X  X  X  X  X  X  Highly unlikely
Thurlstone scale: tracks agreement or disagreement with the question
e.g. I found what I needed on the website today X yes X no
Semantic differential: quantitative measures of topics usually addressed through qualitative means
e.g. The library website is
select one box
Good  X  X  X  X  X  Bad
Guttman scales: statements arranged in sequence to gauge strength of respondents’ view
e.g. Shifting LIS communications to web based tools:
select one box
Web based commun. will catch on quickly/completely replace current tools X
Web based commun. will require some adjustment, but will mostly work X
Web based commun. will be hard to sell, may or may not work X
Web based commun. will never work for our organization X

Feedback On The Music Library

In October, we set up a poster asking for feedback on the Music Library as a physical space. We received many excellent comments. We’ve reproduced these below, along with some of our thoughts about them.

1. More colors; this library is gray

We agree! We’ll be looking for ways to brighten it up.

2a. A warmer temperature! Like 5 degrees more… and new headphones

2b. Why is it so COLD in here?

2c. Seriously it is way too COLD in here!!!

2d. It’s COLD.

Unfortunately, the temperature of the library is not something we have control over. However, we will take these comments to the building manager for the CFA.

3. Install flash on the computers so we can listen to myspaces

Your wish is our command! Well, okay, not all the time… but in this case it is! We have this now.

4a. Some of the headphones need attention. There’s static in the sound, and they often only play on one side.

4b. I think it’s scratchy knobs on the stereos… volumes in particular

4c. Yes, sound quality is often a problem

Thanks for bringing this to our attention. We’ll check it out. It could either be a problem with the phones or the pots on the equipment could need cleaning.

5a. Big blue chairs like Armstrong but also connected to CD, DVD players, headphones, etc.

5b. More soft chairs

5c. With arms, near the listening stations

5d. Comfy chairs would rock (3)

5e. Couches (3)

5f. Chairs are uncomfortable.

One of the things we’d like to do is provide more flexibility and comfort in the listening areas, and comfy new chairs (and maybe even couches!) are part of that plan. Unfortunately, the College, like the rest of the country, is currently experiencing difficult times economically, but we’ll continue to work on this.

6. Larger Browsing section; bring back staff picks table; ability to browse older CDs.

We have brought back the staff picks section, now located near the reference area. We’re glad you like this. Everyone who works in the Music Library is an avid listener as well, so it’s great for us to have the chance to share some of our favorite music with all of you!

As far as the browsing selections: unfortunately, we’re somewhat limited by space, but, even more, it takes a fair amount of time to maintain the browsing section and cycle materials in and out. (As I’m sure you’ve noticed, things get out of order there pretty rapidly as it is…) Ideally, all of the CDs would be browsable, but that’s not simply not feasible given the way our space is set up. You can use MIDCAT to browse CDs online however – ask one of the Music Library staff to show you how to do this. – although we realize it’s not quite the same thing.

7. More carrels would be great. – Noted. We’ll bear this in mind as we plan our renovation.

8a. Vending machine (beverages) please!

8b. Seconded, snacks too

8c. Yes, food!

8d. Please! We need caffeine!

8e. How about coffee?

We agree! We’ll see what we can do. We’ve been trying to get a vending machine in the CFA for years, but the CFA is a shared space and other residents of the building have voiced some concerns. We’ll keep trying!

9. (Re: photo of colorful library): This is beautiful! Is there money for this kind of renovation? The colors are soothing, good for a library!

10a. (Re: more art on walls?): Portrait of Beethoven, no. Student art maybe. Less annoying carpet definitely

10b. Yes to art

OK, we’ll talk with the Museum and the Art Dept. to see what we can come up with

11. The carrels with music stands could use some CD players, etc. There’s no way to listen to music in there. – Noted, thanks

12. No one uses that middle room as it is. – Noted, thanks

13. ROBOTS – though our robot is not as cool as this one, we do have one…

14. (Re: small, round tables with 3-4 chairs for study groups?):

14a. Yes (2)

14b. No (2)

Opinion seems to be divided on the table issue. Though we’re not sure yet exactly what it will look like, we do plan on having some space available for group study.

15. Computer stations are ugly and impractical.

We agree 100%! We’ll be investigating ways to make the space more open and attractive, while still retaining privacy and quiet spaces to work.

16. (Re: long, rectangular tables with lamps?)

16a. Yes (2)

16b. No (1)

So, how about this?

17a. Take staircase out of the library and make access to the second floor classroom from the door on the 2nd floor! DUH!

17b. Seconded.

Okay, we’ll get right on this! Actually, the staff have discussed this, and we’d love to see this happen, for all sorts of reasons. However, as you might imagine, it’s not a trivial endeavor, since the staircase inside the library is connected to the staircase outside the library.

18. (Re: space to use laptops and spread out work?): Yes, and get Ethernet cords!

Yes, tables and workspace to use spreadout, use laptops, etc. would be great. We have added Ethernet cords for borrowing. They’re located next to the printer.

19a. Meditation/rest/nap room to lie down after long hours of studying – Noted, thanks

19b. 2nd! More ZEN. That’d rock. Beanbag chairs, even.

Maybe we can get a little sand garden or something installed. We’ll check it out…

20a. (Re: suggestion for new equipment/software, like Mac workstations)

20b. Macs (3)

Macs are definitely part of the plan.