Tuesday, June 16, 2009

So, are we Meeting the Needs of Engineering Faculty, Researchers, and Students?

We are working hard and certainly trying to by analyzing collections & surveying users to make sure we have the "best fit" resources and services for our campuses.

Using Engineering Theses and Dissertations to Inform Collection-Development Decisions, Especially In Civil Engineering
Patricia Kirkwood, University of Arkansas, performed an analysis of Master of Science and Ph.D. projects to determine the percentage of items cited held by the library. She found that 85.7% of serial articles referenced were available at the university library. However, they held only 45% of the referenced books/monographs. Another finding: 1/3 of the citations of the civil engineering citations were incomplete or incorrect. Opportunity for instruction here.

This study helped her determine what additional resources the library should be considering for their collections. Kirkwood was surprised by the results, for the 3 Ph.D. dissertations that were analyzed, 64% of cited sources were grey literature (technical reports, standards, other non traditionally published materials). For the 22 MS theses, 33% of the referenced items were journal articles.

Kirkwood has been able to use this data to change their government depository profile. She’s added state level documents, such as transportation department publications, and cataloged specialized web resources and added them to library web guides. Also, she’s reviewing non-traditional publishers that were referenced and teaching new tools such as TRIS (Transportation Information Research Service, U.S. Department of Transportation) and TRB, Transportation Research Board, of the National Academies.

See also:
Materials Used by Master's Students in Engineering and Implications for Collection Development: A Citation Analysis by Virginia Kay Williams and Christine Lea Fletcher, Mississippi State University

As well her Kirkwood's other 2009 paper:

Library and Information Use Patterns by Engineering Faculty and Students
William Baer and Lisha Li, from Georgia Institute of Technology, conducted an online survey of Civil/Environmental and Mechanical Engineering students and faculty in order to determine their use of the library and information.
They found that the undergraduates come to the library at least once per week and for most faculty who responded, they visit at least once per month. Top reasons undergrads come to library: individual study, group study, check email, word processing.
For graduate students, top reasons are to access books and journals, followed by checking out books, individual study, attending class/seminar or use of printers.

Google effect: Baer and Li asked if “Google is sufficient” for their research needs and more undergrads agree with this statement, however graduate students tended to disagree. For use of information resources undergrads choose Google first, while grads report use of databases as their first choice for searching. Researchers asked students to choose “best databases.” They found that graduate students selected evenly choose both Web of Science and Compendex as their top choices followed by ScienceDirect then Google Scholar. Several other resources were included in their student, see their paper for additional details. The engineering faculty chose Compendex as their first stop for information.

Baer and Li asked students to report how well they feel they know the databases, ranging from expert to no-knowledge. Librarians will use this data to help create instruction for students, especially in areas the students are reporting “no-knowledge.” The training method preferred for both graduate and undergrad students is “online tutorials.”

Finally, researchers asked library users to comment on one thing they would like the library to improve, suggestions included to gain access to more ejournals, faster ILL, among others. Since the study they have implemented rapidILL document delivery service. Overall, more outreach is needed to promote library resources and services as well as training on various research tools.

Download their presentation (PPTX)

Changing Library Vendor Contracts: A Case Study in Acquiring Ebooks from an Online Book Vendor
Charlotte Erdmann, Purdue University, first described her mindset, to get the materials that best fit the users of Purdue library. She mentioned various research studies on ebook selection which can be found referenced in her paper. Erdmann analyzed usage data from ebook usage over multiple years in order to get the best selection for Purdue students and faculty.
Ebook advantages: convenience, full text searches, broader selection
Since March 2005, Purdue began bargaining for ebooks and initially chose, due to user preference, ProQuest Safari. With only two simultaneous users they had 1000s of turnaways so found funding to increase number of users. By the end of 2007, they went with a “slot plan” to purchase certain amount of titles, which Purdue staff base on the four most popular publishers that made sense to Purdue based on prior usage data. They also take faculty input on selections of titles.
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