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Library and Information Science


The transition from print to electronic resources has brought significant changes to academic librarianship. To facilitate access to electronic resources, libraries created website portals through which users can access subscription resources hosted on a vendor website. Increasingly, libraries strive to provide access to resources at the place and time of need without necessarily requiring users to go through the library website. Libraries continue to deploy technologies such as new authentication methods, new proxy features, and OpenURL resolvers to take users from a citation directly to the full-text.

One unintended consequence, however, is that patrons may not realize that they are using library resources. The increasing migration of our users to Google, coupled with the escalating library trend toward outsourcing content and services, present challenging questions for the future of academic library web presences. At a time of major University budget cuts, can we afford to have library users “Google it” and get access to content without knowing it is a library resource?

The trend of licensing services or tools like OpenURL resolvers or LibGuides will likely continue in academic libraries, and a key challenge is creating a cohesive user experience while sending users to vendor websites to access resources or services. Sometimes 3rd party services can be customized to share the look of the library website, but customization options are often limited. In addition, usage data provided by vendors may be limited and/or web analytics tools may not be able to be included, thereby reducing our ability to understand the users and usage of key services.

The Challenge: Creating an excellent user experience while providing access to library resources at the place and time of need (by users’ preferred method) with so much of the library information seeking ecosystem out of locus of control of librarians.

Presented at the IA Summit 2011 in Denver, CO, on April 1, 2011.


user experience, google, electronic resources

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2011 IA Summit