STAFF RESOURCES

SCILS 531 class: Basic Information Sources

Library Assessment Committee
Subcommittee on the Assessment of the Rutgers University Library System Homepage
SCILS 531 class: Basic Information Sources
Susan Beck, Emily Fabiano, Judy Gardner, Ann Montanaro
April 15, 1999

Susan Beck, Emily Fabiano, Judy Gardner, and Ann Montanaro, working as a sub-committee of the Assessment Committee, created an evaluation form to be used to compare three web interfaces designed to aid users in finding and using the resources of the Rutgers Libraries.

The assessment tool included six questions. Students were told finding the right answer was not important but that they should focus on the process and think about each interface and the ease of use. They were encouraged to record their comments on the form to use for the discussion. The form led users to the current web interface, the one under development, and the one used by the Robeson Library.

The following instructions/questions were used:

  1. Which Rutgers Library has a copy of The Supernatural tales of Thomas Hardy?
  2. Find a full-text article on AIDS.
  3. Send a question to the library.
  4. What is the loan period for a Rutgers guest borrower?
  5. Find a list of Internet resources on Women's Studies.
  6. Where are the instructions for setting up your computer from home?

On April 15 students in SCILS 531 Basic Information Sources, using the evaluation form reviewed all three interfaces and gave the committee feedback on their experience. These are some of the comments received from the students about the new interface.

On the whole the students liked the new interface. Some found they could get to resources with fewer clicks while others reported liking the buttons and limited number of choices on the current interface. They liked the frame display but found the font size too small. They suggested reducing the size of the Rutgers Library logo to provide more space for the text.

The term “Online Research Center” was universally confusing. They did not know if that meant it was a research center online or an online research center. They almost all had trouble finding Internet resources.

In the list of indexes they found the color key misleading because they thought they could click on the color and it them took time to realize they had to click on the link rather than the color. The key looked “clickable” to them.

They questioned two other things on the first page: Digital Library Projects and Friends and Supporters. As to the later, they did not think “development” (their term) would be of interest to the typical user and should be a link later in the document. They also did not understand why digital library projects were separate from online resources and the use of the term was not clear.

Several users completely missed the headings “Finding Information” and “Libraries & Services” and others suggested having another first page with those two headings as the only choices to be clearer and to reduce the amount of text.

This group of students found the colors of Robeson interface "disturbing" and the contrast poor.

When doing an examination of the student's written comments, the following observations were made regarding the use of the new interface:

  1. Which Rutgers Library has a copy of The Supernatural tales of Thomas Hardy?
    • Most students were able to successfully identify IRIS to search for this title
  2. Find a full-text article on AIDS.
    • There seemed to be some confusion as to how to identify the proper indexes.
    • People used both indexes and the online research center to get to the indexes, illustrating how people go about finding information differently.
    • There was a belief that the current interface was easier to use for this question.
  3. Send a question to the library
    • Most respondents easily found Ask A Librarian, however, there were four no comment responses which can be attributed to either lack of time to complete the test or simply there was no need to comment.
  4. What is the loan period for a Rutgers guest borrower?
    • Most students could easily find the answer to this question
  5. Find a list of Internet resources on Women's Studies.
    • Most students were able to identify this correctly in terms of the written comments.
  6. Where are the instructions for setting up your computer from home?
    • There was again a great deal of confusion about where this information was located.
    • It was also obvious that at least one student did not know what we meant by setting up your computer at home and confused it with downloading.
    • Some students tried up to four different options to try to identify this information.

Comments on URL A http://www.libraries.rutgers.edu/ Current RUL Home Page

  1. What is the loan period for a Rutgers guest borrower?
    1. Rutgers/services/borrowing/privileges/loan period
    2. no comment
    3. services- first thought borrowing privilege/ and then saw guest borrowers then to loan periods/28 days for all materials
    4. Home/Services/Borrowing Privileges/Guest Borrowing privileges/28 days
    5. URL A is most familiar to me. I would connect to this interface from B - Not sure 1st page is necessary
    6. Rutgers Libraries Services/Borrowing privileges/loan period
    7. Services
    8. Library Services
    9. Easy to reach answer/print is pretty small
    10. Easier to find than URL C
    11. services/guest borrowers/loan period
  1. Find a List of Internet sources on Women's Studies
    1. Web Guides/women's studies
    2. no comment
    3. Webguides - under general and interdisciplinary - Women's Studies
    4. Webguide/women's studies/links of interest
    5. connected to same interface using url c/Rutgers Libraries/web guides/women's studies
    6. Home Page/Web Guides/Women Studies
    7. home page/web guides
    8. IRIS
    9. easy to research /print is still a little small
    10. could not have been easier/Web Guides/Women's Studies/Have Clear Links
    11. Webguide/women's studies
  1. Where are the instructions for setting up your computer from home?
    1. no comment
    2. no comment
    3. News/remote access click here
    4. News/Information about remote access/click
    5. no comment
    6. Rutgers Home Page/Services/Remote Access
    7. services/remote access
    8. under news instructions for setting up from home
    9. two locations: new(not intuitive) and library services (more logical)
    10. easily available under news which specifies remote access as an option
    11. news/information about remote access
  1. Which Rutgers library has a copy of The Supernatural tales of Thomas Hardy?
    1. ALEX
    2. click on link for IRIS/type in title/loc at Alex PR4742.H35
    3. IRIS/the supernatural....click on title/Alexander has it
    4. Catalog/IRIS/title/Alex
    5. connected to same interface using url c /Alex
    6. Home page/Iris/Title search
    7. Alex
    8. no comment
    9. no comment
    10. Easy as IRIS is designated as an online catalog/clearer than url C
    11. IRIS
  1. Send a question to the library
    1. Questions/Ask A librarian
    2. no comment
    3. Questions/Ask A Librarian/fill in form/submit
    4. Home/Library/Alex/Questions about Library Services
    5. connected to same interface using url c/ Rutgers Libraries/questions
    6. Home page/Questions/Ask A Librarian
    7. 1st Page Questions/ask a librarian
    8. Questions/Ask A librarian
    9. no comment
    10. Again much easier than URL C clearly marked under questions
    11. services/questions also questions
  1. Find a fulltext article on AIDS
    1. no comment
    2. click on indexes/click on alpha list/Proquest searched AIDS acquired immune deficiency syndrome
    3. Indexes/choose sci-tech and medicine/choose Medline/no full text/then Proquest fulltext/ basic search/aids/Rethinking Aids Macleans/disconnect-then what? Clicked on home
    4. Back/search(new)Home/Fulltext/Proquest/Aids/Rethinking Aids/takes a LONG time
    5. no comment
    6. Rutgers Libraries/indexes/Alpha list/Proquest Direct
    7. no comment
    8. Medline
    9. no comment
    10. easier because there is a link marked full text electronic journals
    11. indexes/science and technology or general subjects/Proquest

Comments on URL B (link changed and gone - new RUL web site) New WEB Page

  1. What is the loan period for a Rutgers guest borrower?
    1. user services/borrowing privileges/loan periods
    2. user services/borrowing privileges/loan periods/28 days
    3. user services/guest borrowers/then loan periods
    4. user services/guest borrowers/ loan periods
    5. User Services
    6. user services
    7. user services
    8. 28 days up to 25 items
    9. no comment
    10. easy and clear
    11. home/user services/guest borrowers
  1. Find a List of Internet sources on Women's Studies
    1. online res center/research guides/women's studies
    2. Research Guides/Women's Studies
    3. Online research center/Research Guides/Women's studies
    4. Online research center/Research Guides/Women's studies/links of Interest
    5. no comment
    6. Online research center /Women's studies
    7. Online research center/wwwsearch tools
    8. No comment
    9. no comment
    10. this was not as clear as URL A but better than URL C
    11. Online research center/Research Guides
  1. Where are the instructions for setting up your computer from home?
    1. no comment
    2. extended campus support/remote access link not there yet
    3. News and Notices - NO/User Services-NO/extended campus support
    4. Extended campus support/how to download
    5. not intuitive
    6. under user services (wrong) Extended campus support (wrong) Iris/Online Research center/Ask A Librarian
    7. no comment
    8. extended campus support
    9. no comment
    10. not as clear as URL A should not be under extended campus support
    11. extended support
  1. Which Rutgers library has a copy of The Supernatural tales of Thomas Hardy?
    1. Alex
    2. no comment
    3. Iris - then its the same
    4. IRIS/Alex
    5. used Iris link
    6. Iris/title search
    7. Iris/Alex
    8. Alex
    9. no comment
    10. easy as Iris is identified as an online catalog
    11. IRIS
  1. Send a question to the library
    1. Ask A Librarian
    2. no comment
    3. Ask A librarian
    4. Ask A Librarian
    5. no comment
    6. Ask A Librarian
    7. doesn't work
    8. no comment
    9. no comment
    10. Best Site for this clearly has an option /link for Ask A Librarian
    11. Ask A librarian
  1. Find a fulltext article on AIDS
    1. no comment
    2. no comment
    3. Indexes ST we tried to click on boxes in key still can't tell what's fulltext/what does blank blue space mean?/Proquest or Periodical Abstr. are only fulltext choices for science
    4. Online Research Center/Proquest
    5. indexes
    6. Indexes/key:science technology & Medicine/Medline/hivaids Resources/IGM/query
    7. indexes/Proquest
    8. Wilson General Science Abstracts
    9. key to type of index, but hard to know what to choose. Would prefer journals grouped by type rather than alphabetically
    10. relatively easy to find, but not as well marked as URL A
    11. Indexes/Proquest
  1. Other Comments on this page:
    1. the Blue text is hard to read for this URL

Comments on URL C http://www.libraries.rutgers.edu/rulib/abtlib/camlib/index.html

Camden Page

  1. What is the loan period for a Rutgers guest borrower?
    1. Rutgers Libraries/services/borrowing privileges/loan period
    2. no comment
    3. Visitors enter here? how can I use the library to borrow books?/Visit main site
    4. Visitors/use the lib/quest borrowers/loan period
    5. no comment
    6. Rutgers Libraries Services/Borrowing privileges/loan period
    7. no comment
    8. no comment
    9. no comment
    10. no direct answer can only get information by going to main page
    11. home/visitors/guest borrowers page/4 steps
  1. Find a List of Internet sources on Women's Studies
    1. Rutgers Libraries/webguides/women's studies
    2. no comment
    3. students/under research tools/internet sources - no/subject guide
    4. Subject Guide/to webresources/women's studies/links of interest
    5. Rutgers Libraries/web guides/women's studies
    6. Home Page/Web Guides/Women Studies
    7. Student/research tools/internet sources/student subject guide to web resources
    8. iris/web guides/women studies
    9. no comment
    10. was able to locate quickly/links were clearly marked
    11. home/resources
  1. Where are the instructions for setting up your computer from home?
    1. no comment
    2. no comment
    3. didn't find
    4. Learning Resources/learn more about...
    5. no comment
    6. Rutgers Home Page/Services/Remote Access
    7. no comment
    8. unclear
    9. no comment
    10. could not find easily at all
    11. library home page/news/index connections/ having problems connecting?
  1. Which Rutgers library has a copy of The Supernatural tales of Thomas Hardy?
    1. Alex
    2. Students/research tools/catalog/click on IRIS button
    3. Connect to IRIS
    4. Had to go to home/libraries/Paul Robeson/Research Tools/Finding Books
    5. Alex
    6. Home page/Iris/Title search
    7. Iris/Alex
    8. no comment
    9. First/students icon/where do I find...??iris/title search/answer
    10. That was easy/clear link to how I can find info about a book
    11. Students/books and journals/iris
  1. Send a question to the library
    1. Rutgers Libraries/questions/Ask A Librarian
    2. no comment
    3. please contact us to send an email
    4. no comment
    5. Rutgers Libraries/Questions
    6. Home page/Questions/Ask A Librarian
    7. visitors/contact library staff/can't find ask a librarian
    8. library staff/got staff email address
    9. Please contact us/hyperlink on first page/through visitors page/staff list
    10. extremely difficult would not have known how to access this service had we not been familiar with it
    11. index connection
  1. Find a fulltext article on AIDS
    1. no comment
    2. no comment
    3. index connection same
    4. Research Tools/magazine, journal, news article/Proquest
    5. no comment
    6. Rutgers Libraries/indexes/Alpha list/Proquest Direct
    7. Indexes (purple's attractive) call reference desk
    8. no comment
    9. no comment
    10. this was pretty easy if you were a student and got research tools
    11. student/indexes/Proquest direct
  1. Other comments:
    1. color contrast disturbing


 
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