Research and Findings
We all want to make the most of our investments and resources. In an ongoing effort to improve services and collaborative activities offered to the librarian community, Elsevier regularly commissions research among librarians and end-users. One finding has been that librarians are interested in learning about results of these research efforts. We are, therefore, pleased to share here results of recent research into the promotion and use of online services within organizations.
At the end of 2002, Elsevier commissioned through an independent research agency an extensive international research program among librarians and end-users across Germany, France, the US, the UK, and Asia Pacific nations. The objective was to gain insights from users into factors that help achieve effective use of online services.
This pamphlet summarizes results provided by the independent research agency; these summaries do not necessarily represent the views of Elsevier. All research that Elsevier commissions is conducted under strict market research codes of conduct.
Examining ScienceDirect usage logs for a set of institutions with similar demographic profiles, the research found that institutes using certain approaches or “best practices” saw higher usage. These best practices can be applied to promote effective use of any electronic resource.
In addition to presenting these best practices, this pamphlet provides references to articles, books, and online information addressing in-depth the topic of how to make the best use of digital resources.
We hope this information assists you in getting the most from electronic services within your organization.
Library Website Positioning
1. Make sure your institute’s homepage features obvious links to library pages
2. On the library homepage, offer links to digital resources and subject-specific content
3. Limit the number of clicks a user needs to get to full-text access
Library Website Searching
4. Allow searches on metadata or key words associated with online resources
5. Offer options for restricting a search
6. Offer searchable lists of online resources and providers
Library Website Help Features
7. List library staff titles and names with telephone numbers and email addresses
8. Incorporate subject-specific help features within your library website
9. Provide well-structured FAQs as part of your website
10. Provide guides appropriate for all levels of users, beginner to advanced
Marketing to Users
11. Use communication extending beyond library buildings and targeting users in subject-specific ways
12. Avoid generic email alerts to a wide audience in favor of tailored email messages
13. Create training courses focusing on specific subjects or problems
14. Allow users to register online for training courses or sessions
15. Collaborate with your publisher and vendor contacts