Libraries have always been committed to understanding user needs and behavior. Collection development and acquisitions have long been founded on understanding the objectives of one’s institution and the needs of its faculty and researchers. Yet with the explosion in electronic access to research, more and more librarians lament that it’s harder to know the users because they come less and less to the library. The flip side to this is that the technology itself offers opportunities to understand user behavior at a level of detail unthinkable just a decade ago.
In this issue of Library Connect, we share experiences from librarians and Elsevier product developers, all focused on understanding the user. In an interview with the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), Director Ho Nam Choi talks about his institute’s focus on “User-Centered Information Services” and the use of usage data and CRM technology to facilitate development of the National Digital Science Library. Elsevier’s Marc Krellenstein provides a glimpse of the potential to go far beyond searching via new technology in text mining. The Elsevier Research Office offers insights on user preferences versus librarians’ attitudes towards Google.
But what resonates loudly throughout this issue, beyond the power of the technology, usage mining and research surveys, is the value of face-to-face communication. Amy Knapp from the University of Pittsburgh shares her experience of working directly with researchers as a Scopus development partner. In our “Librarians Speak Up” feature, librarians underscore how involvement in committees, going to classrooms, and old-fashioned observance still reign.
In my role in Technology supporting Product Development, first for Elsevier Science and Technology and now for Elsevier Health Sciences, we’ve always recognized the need for a balance of technology and human interaction. Over the years, we’ve involved hundreds of librarians, researchers and users in our product development efforts through surveys, usability studies and focus groups. As you can see in this issue of Library Connect, Elsevier’s partnerships with libraries and librarians worldwide continue to grow and benefit all involved. Let me take this opportunity to thank our customers for their contributions to our ongoing and collaborative efforts to make our products work well for you.
Executive Vice President, Technology, Elsevier Health Sciences, Philadelphia, PA, USA
New Library Connect pamphlets were published in May and June:
- Pamphlet Number 4: Ways to Use Journals Articles Published by Elsevier.
- Pamphlet Number 5: How to Design Library Web Sites to Maximize Usability.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for your copies of the latest pamphlets or pick them up at upcoming library shows and Library Connect events. PDFs are available at www.elsevier.com/locate/libraryconnect