The University of Illinois Library at the 2013 Qualitative and Quantitative Methods in Libraries Conference

From June 4-7, 2013, a group of University of Illinois librarians participated in the 5th International Conference on Qualitative and Quantitative Methods in Libraries (or QQML) in Rome, Italy. Lynne Rudasill, University of Illinois Global Studies Librarian and a member of the conference advisory committee, gave the keynote. Beyond the presentations, the conference featured half-day research methods workshops. One such workshop, led by University of Washington Professor Karen Fisher, focused on using the concept of information grounds to drive ethnographic approaches to discover how space shapes where and how people share information. Mara Thacker, University of Illinois South Asian Studies Librarian, found the workshop helpful in thinking about ways to drive research that could help improve outreach to international students: “If we can reach out to the students on their own turf, we may be more successful at connecting them with the services they need.”Below are the titles and excerpts from the abstracts of the papers presented by University of Illinois Library faculty. You can find full abstracts in the Book of Abstracts on the QQML 2013 website.

Rudasill, Lynne M. “Looking Out and Looking In – The Universe of Information.”

Keynote. We are all aware of the fact that the forces of globalization are not just felt in the spheres of economics, politics, and sociology. Library and information science is also facing the challenges brought on by vast technological changes that are having an increasingly foundational impact upon the field. The concepts of interdisciplinarity, problem-solving, and big data are explored here in an effort to understand the intricacies of measurement in a rapidly changing field, the tools that can be provided to our institutions and, most importantly, to our users. Beginning with a look at a galaxy of clickstream data that provides a striking example of interdisciplinarity, we can explore the information universe where competing methodologies, both quantitative and qualitative, demand our attention and resources. We will also try to see the expanding edges of our universe to understand where we might be going next.


Jacoby, JoAnn and Susan E. Searing. “Involving and Empowering Users to Shape New Service Models at the University of Illinois Library.”

Abstract:  The New Service Models Program at Illinois is an ambitious program to reshape a highly decentralized departmental library system and reimagine library services for the 21st century.  The approach used to shape the direction of these changes has been a broadly participatory process that involves library and campus stakeholders at all stages of the process and has been driven by data drawn from user surveys, formal and informal focus groups, and the targeted analysis of usage data.  As a result, the University of Illinois Library has been able to engage the entire campus community—students, faculty and staff—in a substantive and sustained discussion of “what matters” in a 21st century research library while also moving forward expeditiously with large-scale restructuring of library spaces and services.  This paper will focus on how user feedback and library metrics helped shape three particular projects: the transformation of the Library & Information Science Library to a virtual and embedded service, the creation of a new Literatures and Languages Library by merging two prior libraries, and the closure of the Biology Library and incorporation of its collections and staff into another library.


Lenkart, Joe, Thomas H. Teper, Mara Thacker, and Steven W. Witt. “Measuring and Sustaining the Impact of Multilingual Collections in a Research Library.”

Abstract:  In order to examine the current state of resource sharing and cooperative collection development, this proposed paper will evaluate the symbiotic relationship between multilingual collections and ILL services by conducting a quantitative analysis of ILL transactions for materials in languages considered less commonly taught in North America (as identified by the National Council of Less Commonly Taught Languages: The study will examine multiple years of UIUC resource sharing and collection usage data. Moreover, the proposed paper will also provide a historical narrative for multilingual collections, collection development strategies, reference services, and outreach initiatives, which reinforce and strengthen scholarly communication in resource sharing among academic libraries. Lastly, the proposed paper will address the importance of maintaining area multilingual collections to meet the expectations of the global generation.


Tracy, Daniel G. “App Advisory in Research Library Websites: A Preliminary Study.”

Abstract: This preliminary study examines the websites of U.S. research libraries in one consortium, the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC), to determine the extent and variety of online app advisory services these libraries provide to patrons. App advisory, for the purposes of this study, refers to any suggestions of downloadable mobile applications (whether for phones, tablets, or other devices) for use by patrons. This still emerging phenomenon needs systematic study. I explore how these institutions provide app advisory content on their websites, and the kinds of apps included in their recommendations. The paper will also explore the methodological problems in discovering this content through the many layers of library websites, and areas of interest for further study.


Wiley, Lynn and Tina E. Chrzastowski, “Ebooks or Pbooks? Does Subject Discipline Affect Format Choice in the Humanities?”

Abstract: Ebook adoption in the Humanities disciplines has lagged behind that in the Sciences and Social Sciences. Is ebook evolution leaving a segment of our researchers behind? Are humanists’ scholarly research needs well matched with the ebook format? If not, why not? With some publishers moving ahead with a format migration to ebooks, how will humanists, and the libraries that support them, respond? To answer a myriad of questions surrounding ebook adoption in the humanities, a multi-phased research project, funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (via “LibValue,” ) was undertaken at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library (UIUC). At its core, the study centered on PDA (patron-driven acquisition via short term loan access-STL) collection use through Ebrary and Oxford University Press titles. Pertinent to the study were the availability and use of corresponding print books at UIUC and the factors that determine why a humanities scholar would choose either an ebook or a pbook (print book). Data were collected on PDA and STL use of humanities ebooks in architecture, art, art history, classics, music and theology. Circulation of corresponding (duplicate) print books was also documented; in addition, a survey was conducted with over 150 faculty and graduate students in these disciplines in order to determine the thought process and reasons for format selection.

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