Section III Part 5: Library Systems' Goals

The overriding goal of library systems is to integrate the library's electronic resources in such a way that they can be most effectively used. The key word here is seamlessness. When a search interface works efficiently, the researcher is never made aware that the system is pulling its information from various vendors, platforms, and/or databases. The current mantra is to prioritize "ease of use," with the inherent belief that ease of use improves research effectiveness. While discovery systems allow easy access to all library resources, they overwhelm students, and they do little to help students discern between formats and types, which will lead to research that is inefficient and ineffective.

Therefore our goal is not to simplify for simplicity's sake, but to simplify only to the point at which efficiency and accuracy are not compromised. Achieving this goal will require extensive research into the conventions and accepted research norms of each discipline, careful planning, and meticulous usability testing. The development of our new liaison program will aid in this endeavor, as now each discipline has a library staff member who is devoted to working with faculty to make sure that the library has the preferred resources of the discipline, and that the reference team understands fully how researchers in the discipline think, what types of resources (taking into account criteria such as format, currency, authority, and the like) they prioritize, and what types of final products the discipline dictates they produce.

Alumnae Library strives to be an outcomes based environment. To that end, library staff will prioritize not ease and speed, but accuracy and efficiency. Supporting those priorities is the main goal of systems. To that end, the following is a list of our systems goals and objectives:

1.      The systems librarian will partner with vendors, consortia, and IT to develop a common look and feel in the design of the library's search interfaces, when the technology allows for such.

2.     The liaisons will investigate and critically evaluate next generation discovery tools for cross-database or multi-resource searching for their efficiency and accuracy, as well as their appropriateness to the research needs of the discipline, not solely for their ease of use.

3.      In conjunction with IT and Marketing, the systems librarian will investigate third party content management systems to assist in developing the library web site.

4.      Library staff, under the guidance of the special collections librarian, will develop expertise in digital asset management and position the library to provide leadership on the Elms campus for the preservation of digital assets.

5.      The systems librarian will use newly available technology to manage licensing agreements and produce usage information, to better guide purchasing.

6.     The library director will reach out to IT and Marketing to create a mutually beneficial technological partnership with both.

7.      Library staff will explore and implement methods and open-source standards to enhance library services and resources.