Saturday, 4 June 2011

Students use of Summon, article in New Library World

My colleague and I have had an article published in the Emerald journal New Library World. This is based on a study we did where we observed students using the Serials Solutions webscale discovery tool, Summon.

Gross, J. & Sheridan, L. (2011). Web scale discovery: the user experience. New Library World, 112 (5/6) 236-247.

The DOI is: 10.1108/03074801111136275

Purpose – This study aims to look at how a small group of university students used the new library web scale search discovery tool, “Summon”, and whether they encountered any difficulties pertaining to navigation, ease of use and the quality of the search results.

Design/methodology/approach – Researchers conducted a series of usability studies in which students were observed as they conducted some typical library resource searches using the new discovery search platform.

Findings – The paper analyses the data, describes and reports the findings of the usability tests. The study found that the new homepage design of providing a single search box was an effective interface for users. The students found a single search box discovery solution was simple to use, and seemed to deliver satisfactory results on a selection of typical library search tasks. The study confirms some of the promise for web scale discovery, but points to new lines of enquiry in relation to the nature of assistance that students will need in the future, particularly in relation to their need to evaluate information.

Originality/value – Web scale discovery searching is an innovation in the online searching of library collections. The study revealed how a small sample of end-users experienced the new type of searching and serendipitously identified a new issue that warrants further investigation

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