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Humanities and Social Sciences Year in Review (2002-2003)
The HSS Academic Program Division is newly formed as of May 2003. It has been a very busy and productive year and this report contains only selected information. Collection Development activities are included in a separate report.
General Reference Service
I don’t have a complete compilation of reference statistics for all the HSS units. Information from Wilson IRIS, the largest general reference service unit, indicates a downward trend for in-person and telephone reference service. IRIS reported 22, 491 reference transactions in the 2002/ 2003 fiscal year compared 25,065 in the previous year. This downward trend is not consistent across units. GPL was open fewer total hours in 2002/03 but their statistics were higher -- 7,338 for 02/03 compared with 5,580 for 01/02.
Digital Reference Services-InfoPoint and Chat
Significant growth was observed in both Email and Chat Reference Services this year. Since its inception in 1998, the total numbers of questions (both Email and Chat) answered by Digital Reference Services have grown by 417%, from 1,053 in 1998-1999 to 5,443 in 2002-2003.
As the dependency on electronic resources has grown so has the Libraries’ dependency on InfoPoint because staff from all over the system rely on InfoPoint for their problem solving expertise. In a review of a recent week (9/28/03), InfoPoint answered 54 % of the questions that came into the service and referred 28% to other units. 10% were thank yous—see the thank you section below for a sampling.
InfoPoint Staffing: We have had to rebuild and retrain the InfoPoint staff almost from the ground up this year. John Butler left InfoPoint to take on new responsibilities as the director of the newly formed Digital Library Technology Lab and two InfoPoint librarians on annual contracts left because of budget reductions. One newly hired Science Librarian in Magrath works 25 % time in InfoPoint and we have reassigned three other staff to work in InfoPoint on a part time basis.
Chat service: We increased the hours of service this year. Chat hours are 10-4 M-F and 5-8 on Tuesdays. With the inclusion of staff from the Bio-Medical Library, Chat Reference is, for the first time, a University Libraries-wide service, with participating staff from every major unit and Academic Program.
Thank Yous: InfoPoint receives hundreds of thank yous. Here are five representative ones:
"Thanks for the information- you are fantastic! I think this service is the best use of my tuition dollars that I have discovered at the 'U' to-date."
"Thank you so much for the information and for your quick response. I followed your directions to find the article, and it was exactly what I was looking for--and so convenient! Easing into the electronic age is getting easier and easier. I really appreciate your assistance—thanks again"
Thank you for providing me with such complete information. I appreciated that you took the extra step to answer my next two questions..."
"Wow.... thanks a lot. You actually made it sound easy, and I had pretty much given up hope.
"The persistence of the staff at the library is just a Godsend. Your staff is the greatest!"
General Instruction & Orientation
The IRIS unit continues to attempt to meet the demand to help educate over 3,000 students in the general undergraduate curriculum (e.g. English Composition General College 1000's, LaSK Program) despite the loss of two annual contract librarians who were able to help support these programs in the past. Although referring faculty to use the Unravel the Library series has been a viable way to manage this load, it also is increasing interest in customized instruction as well (which we currently have to decline).
Here are the IRIS instruction stats for the past 2 years (as reported to ARL):
Unravel The Library
The Libraries' "Unravel the Library" workshop series provides students with the fundamentals for successful library use Because of increasing demand for the series, the Libraries have increased Unravel offerings by 50% each year as more faculty find out about it and require their students to attend.
Although the majority of faculty requiring Unravels are from the 1000 level curriculum, faculty from upper levels and occasionally even graduate level courses are making the Unravels a requirement. An increasing number of faculty are also requiring more than one workshop in the series.
The teaching load for Unravels is distributed between 14 library staff from across the Libraries. In addition, RCS hired a library staff member 10 hours a week in Fall ‘02 and AP H/SS hired a graduate student for 10 hours a week in Fall ‘03 to help manage the teaching load. If the supply of Unravels continues to meet demand, the Libraries will need to either contribute more existing staff or hire more teaching hours to keep up.
A Libraries instructional design team is currently developing an additional workshop for the series: "Unravel for Graduate Students."
HSS Subject Librarians offered 70 sessions attended by 2,238 students in 2002/2003. [I do not have comparative statistics for previous years for this category but can try to find them if you need them.]
Between July 2002 and June 2003 the QuickStudy homepage was hit 27,702 times. There were 36,109 hits on the modules and 74,332 hits to the lesson levels. This is a 50% increase in access since the previous year, which reflects a consistent 50% increase each year since 1999.
The Assignment Calculator continues to be popular both on and off-campus. Five scripts have been sent to other institutions interested in piloting the open source code for the Calculator. The tool calculated 30,633 assignments in the last fiscal year. USA Today named it as one of their "hot sites" for October 7, 2003 http://www.usatoday.com/tech/webguide/hotsites/2003/2003-10-06-hotsites.htm
Dissertation Calculator (Not yet officially named)
In response to interest by faculty and graduates in personal use of the Assignment Calculator, we are in the final stages of completing a much more robust tool for graduate students writing their dissertations. Although emerging under the initiative and leadership of the Libraries, the Dissertation Calculator is a joint product of the Center for Teaching & Learning, the Writing Center, and the Center for Research on Developmental Education and Urban Literacy along with the Libraries. It is expected to be released to the public in the Spring '04 semester, but can be accessed now while under development.
3. Collaboration with the University Writing Center
After a successful pilot year, Wilson Library has become a high priority satellite location for the University Writing Center. Writing tutors work in tandem with reference librarians to provide students with the research and the writing support they need to be successful students. Kirsten Jamsen, Director of the Center for Writing, provided the following observations about the service last year. “ The Wilson satellite attracted more and more students—experiencing an almost 100% increase in usage from fall to spring semester – and has moved into its second year as an established, visible resourse for students. As a result of the Wilson satellites success, the Center fro Writing has piloted a new satellite location in Magrath Library, which widens our collaboration to include the COAFES Online Writing Center.”
4. Microformat Digital Reader Printers
This new service allows users to scan and email images from microfilm and microfiche. The new equipment and software was partially funded by CLA. We started with a pilot and set up two networked scanners. During the first week, there were a total of 1,156 scans. After a successful pilot, we set up four more machines. By the end of the fiscal year, more than 169,000 scans were performed.
These comments capture the value of this new service:
“I just wanted to tell you that I really like the new Microformat Digital Reader that allowed me to email scanned images to my e-mail account. It really saved me a lot of time and money!”
“I emailed the copies to myself, printed them out at home. Ten times better than paying 25 cents per copy. Didn't take any extra time at all. Very fast, very convenient and very user-friendly. Definitely a keeper!"
5. Authentication in Wilson Library
Widespread inappropriate use of the workstations in Wilson Library by unaffiliated community users resulted in the necessity to implement authentication on approximately 2/3 of the workstations. 20 workstations remain open for all users. Problems with unaffiliated users monopolizing the open access computers for personal email, chat and gaming and rowdy behavior persisted. A bocklist system was set up to deny access to personal email, chat and gaming sites on the open access computers. The combination of authentication and block curbed the problem.
6. Aleph Implementation
Reference staff created the Help Pages and FAQ’s for the new MnCat. InfoPoint served as the main service for handling public and staff complaints and comments related to the new system.
7. Emerging Leaders / Executive Information Service
Roberta Gibbons (our Emerging Leader participant) worked with Vicki Glasgow to investigate the need for an “Executive Information Service.” They developed survey and helped facilitate a mini-pilot for providing service in advance of implementation. This was necessary because of the positive response and immediate requests for service ensuing from Roberta’s interviews.
8. Loo News
A new publication, “LOO News,” was started this year. This creatively designed flyer advertising our services and resources is posted in the public restrooms throughout Wilson and in other libraries on campus.
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