Friday, October 07, 2005

Many Hats

So in addition to supervising catalogers and dealing with cataloging policy and serials issues, I've been drafted to help with developing the catalog- and index-related questions for our web-usability survey. We have a survey that pops up occasionally when people use our website, but the catalog-related questions are general enough that the answers provide very little in the way of useful data for us. (Well, except for the almost universal comment of 'We want full text online!')

This is a completely new thing for me, and since I know some of you Scrapple folks have done more of this than I have, can you point me to some good resources on developing library-related web-usability surveys? Right now, it looks like most of our data is being gathered in the form of free-text entry fields, and I'm thinking we'll want to phrase more questions as yes/no or multiple choice in order to give us data that's easier to analyze. Any other suggestions?

3 comments:

Sue Woodson said...

EEEK, Tina, sorry, I just saw this. For the last few weeks I've just been slinging stuff in here and not reading. I'm up to my eyeballs in MetaLib implementation. I'll get back to you tonight.

Susan said...

Hi Tina,

I've been away from Scrapple for the past week, getting my library ready for our renovation. We had to move 12 shelves, which might sound like no big deal, but 8 of them were 25 feet long and probably weighed 1000 lbs! We used a stack mover, so it was cool to see how you could get those shelves moved without taking all the stuff off them and taking them apart.

Couple ideas:
Liz Mengel might have some suggestions for you if you e-mail her. I think she's done this kind of stuff before.

I have this page bookmarked on my computer...don't know if all the links work in the bibliography still, but they might give you a starting point:

http://www.collectionscanada.ca/9/1/p1-260-e.html

In library school, we designed a survey based on the Likert scale. You could probably search a library index and find examples of various surveys. Some articles about library surveys include the sample used, which can be helpful if you don't want to reinvent the wheel.

Anyway, just a couple of ideas. Good luck!

Sue Woodson said...

Tina,
I think the first thing I would do is look over the text of the last few surveys they did to see what people are complaining about. Thwat stuff can help you figure out what kinds of problems people are having. You have to know what problems you want to survey for before you start designing the survey. Then, when you have an idea of what you want to survey you can start thinking about instruments.

If the only thing they complain about is lack of full text then you face answers that could run into $$. Let's assume some issues jump off the page at you.


I haven't done this in a while so I don't know the recent titles.

Basically you want something at the beginners' level that focuses on survey construction. There are theories of when you give people 3 options vs 5 options; how to create a scale (e.g., from 1-5 how much does it hurt?) and so forth.

I'd go to WorldCat, do a search and look for a title that is recent and held in lots of different libraries. There's an LC subject "social surveys" and isn't there some floating subject for handbooks or guides? I tried WorldCat for surveys and dummies but got nothing.

Personally, I always like leaving a free text box. That's how you find out what new things are bugging people. And occasionally, you get complements -- those always look nice.

Hope you're doing well.
Keep us posted on what you do. Sounds like an interesting project.