User Research

Libraries are impacted by the ways in which individuals engage with technology; how they seek, access, contribute, and use information; and how and why they demonstrate these behaviors and do what they do. We're  collaborating with librarians to shape their services around a set of expectations that have been influenced by consumer technologies and modern research and learning environments. By providing the library community with behavioral evidence about individuals’ perceptions, habits, and requirements, we can ensure that the design of future library services is all about the user. Our efforts are amplified by strategic partnerships and focus in these two areas:



Building a National Finding Aid Network (NAFAN)

OCLC Research is collaborating on the California Digital Library-led, IMLS-funded project NAFAN to build the foundations for a national finding aid discovery infrastructure in the United States. OCLC will be leading research efforts with cultural heritage institutions that steward archival collections and the researchers who use those to inform project outcomes.
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“People Are Reading Your Work”: Scholarly Identity and Social Networking Sites

Scholars are increasingly asked to report on their research’s impact, productivity, and citation counts when being considered for hire, tenure, and promotion. This growing trend has resulted in increased expectations for researchers to cultivate a scholarly identity (SI); this research explores the benefits, drawbacks, and ethical concerns related to SI work.
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How Far Have We Come and What Do We Do Next? An Agenda for Action-based Research on Student Learning and Success

The major outcomes of this project will aid librarians in communicating their value by focusing on both the current and potential future contributions of the library to student learning and success.
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Researching Students’ Information Choices: Determining Identity and Judging Credibility in Digital Spaces

By studying how STEM students identify resource types and judge credibility in online spaces, this project will help to develop meaningful strategies for teaching the information literacy skills.
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E-Research and Data: Opportunities for Library Engagement

This project examines how academic libraries and librarians are responding to campus community needs for the management, curation, and preservation of research data.
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Cyber Synergy: Seeking Sustainability through Collaboration between Virtual Reference and Social Q&A Sites

This project proposes a new model that enables Virtual Reference Services (VRS) to remain viable despite today's environment of reduced resources. It will investigate the possibility of seamless collaboration between knowledge institutions such as libraries and the Social Q&A (SQA) community.
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Digital Visitors and Residents: What Motivates Engagement with the Digital Information Environment?

A JISC-funded collaboration with the University of Oxford to investigate the theory of digital residents and visitors among learners in four educational stages, from late-stage secondary (high school) into post-degree professional practice.
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Dissemination Information Packages for Information Reuse (DIPIR)

DIPIR is a joint, IMLS-funded project with the University of Michigan. Together with collaborators at the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology (UMMZ), and Open Context, the project team is studying how Dissemination Information Packages (DIPS) can better incorporate information from designated communities to facilitate reuse of digital information.
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Digital Information Seeker Report

OCLC Research analyzed twelve final reports of library user studies from JISC, OCLC, and RIN, issued 2005-2009, and summarized the findings in a report issued under the auspices of JISC.
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Seeking Synchronicity: Evaluating Virtual Reference Services from User, Non-User and Librarian Perspectives

This project includes the evaluation, sustainability, and relevance of virtual reference services, which are human-mediated, Internet-based library information services. The study of VRS users, non-users, and librarians provided a fuller understanding of their behaviors, needs, and preferences in virtual environments, in order to improve libraries' ability to respond to increased demand on libraries to provide reference services online.
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The Secret Life of Data (SLO-Data)

The Secret Life of Data (SLO-data) project will improve the quality of information collected during archaeological excavations across the globe, preserve this information, and share it with the public. Outcomes include exemplary open datasets, an expansion of Open Context’s data publishing services, and online educational modules. The project team includes researchers at Stanford University, OCLC Research, the University of Michigan, and the Institute for Field Research.

Past Projects

User-Centered Design of a Recommender System for a "Universal" Library Catalogue

A joint research project of OCLC Research and the Information School, University of Sheffield to investigate the development of recommender systems for the retrieval of journals, books, digital media, video, etc. in a cloud-based multi-institution, international catalog.
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Virtual Research Environment (VRE) Study

The goal of this study is to identify, gather and analyse evidence of researchers’ behaviors in digital environments from a selection of recent relevant JISC-funded projects in order to derive an evidence-based picture of the researcher of today. A cooperative project of OCLC Research and JISC (UK).
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