REFolution 6

Frances O’Brien of West Virginia University gave her talk on Janus at the Reference Desk: Rethinking Reference Revisited.  She quotes Johanna Drucker in her 4/3/09 article in Chronicle ReviewBlind Spots: Humanists must plan their digital future – where she explains that designing digital tools for scholarship is an intellectual responsibility, not a technical task.  In other words, we need to involve users in designing our methods for information distribution and communication or they’ll be left with methods and materials that don’t work for their projects and research.


She suggests examining failed searches from your catalog to see what you need to add there (e.g. library hours was a common catalog search at one institute).


She also mentioned that the University of Illinois is doing work on quantifying the return on their investment in the library.  Early work indicates every $1 invested in the library results in $4.38 in grants (though the study was criticized because of citation errors and their partnership with Elsevier).  But she pleads for more research on this e.g. data on libraries’ impact on state economic development. We need to spend the resources and time to develop data that will demonstrate our worth to officials.

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