You may have noticed some changes happening on the University of Louisville Libraries website. Last summer we introduced new sites for the Bridwell Art Library and the Dwight Anderson Memorial Music Library along with improved scheduling apps for room reservations and research appointments.
In March we released the new site for Archives & Special Collections.
In the upcoming months we’ll be bringing you new sites for the Kornhauser Health Sciences Library, Ekstrom Library, and the University of Louisville Libraries. Tentative dates for these releases are July 1 for the Kornhauser site and August 1 for the Ekstrom and UofL Libraries sites.
Better Mobile Experience
A driving reason for these changes is the increasing use of mobile devices for accessing all parts of the site. In the previous version of our site the homepages for each library provided limited options in the mobile view. The new version will have the complete content of the site in the mobile version as well as in desktop views.
Currently, our website is split between two systems; when the project is complete the entire site will be located on one system. URLs for the pages on the old system will change. For example, when the Music Library site moved its URL changed from louisville.edu/library/music to library.louisville.edu/music/home.
The content management system (CMS) we are moving to is designed specifically for libraries and provides tools to help us keep links and other content fresh.
By Matt Goldberg, Head, Access and User Services
Have you ever stopped at a desk in Ekstrom Library to ask a question, such as: Do you have any copies of Dan Brown’s new book? Where’s the bathroom? What time does the library close? If you have, our desk staff have carefully recorded the question and answer so that we can determine trends in patron needs and service requests in an effort to improve how our library operates.
Using a program called Gimlet, the Access and User Services Department (AUS) records every question and answer asked at the west, east, and technology desks, and this data is reviewed weekly by departmental staff. Beyond looking to make sure our staff is giving correct information, we do significant work to refine, manipulate, and extrapolate the hundreds of questions asked per week.
The collection of these questions is quite labor-intensive, thanks to the frequency of questions asked by patrons. From June 2015 to May 2016, there were nearly 32,000 questions asked at the desks, an average of more than 2,600 per month, or about 90 per day. Each question is tagged by the desk staff to group them into easily sortable categories (internal directions, policy, technology, research, etc.) so that we can go back and look for data trends.
You might wonder how we use these trends to make decisions. For instance, in early 2015, we noticed that there were an abnormally high number of printing and copying questions being handled by desk staff at the east and west desks. To alleviate this we opened the technology desk in the computer commons to give students more direct technology help. In another instance, high levels of directional questions have led to improved signage across the building to help patrons find what they are looking for with more visual cues.
We routinely examine trends in the data to examine our own processes and policies. Last semester we opened the east side of the building until 2 a.m., a move that was fueled by a combination of student suggestions, gate count data, and Gimlet numbers that showed students in the building later in the evening than usual. We periodically run visualization reports of the data to see how users are asking their questions, producing word clouds like the one above.
So the next time you ask a question in Ekstrom, just know, we are listening and always looking to be of better assistance!
By Maurini Strub
It’s been over a year since the east wing of the 1st floor of Ekstrom Library was renovated. We hope that during this time you’ve enjoyed using the space, and maybe discovered a new favorite spot.
Before the renovation, we collected feedback on your needs, desires and difficulties, and that data helped inform the design of the space. Design solutions include a clearly identified, “one-stop shopping” service desk; enhanced technology support and printing services; an intuitive approach to the layout of services and spaces; and a mixture of learning and study spaces.
Assessing how well we met our goals is the focus of a survey we’ll be conducting through April 25. As you walk through the first floor-east, you’ll see some questionnaires, and a large red box as you enter the east lobby (see photos).
The survey seeks to discover your satisfaction with these improved learning spaces, how these spaces have impacted your success at UofL, your experience using our services, and the value of collocating some of our primary services. Concurrently, we’ll conduct periodic observations and review collections usage data.
We’d love to hear about your experience in these new spaces. Please feel free to complete this very short questionnaire or fill out the paper one and leave it in the red box in the lobby!
By Carolyn Dowd and George Martinez
Following the November election, George Orwell’s 1984 became an instant best-selling novel. It is one among a number of 20th Century dystopian novels making a resurgence in popularity recently. A bitterly contested American election and subsequent change in governing style may have prompted some to seek out fictionalized accounts of dystopian realities, as an odd form of comfort.
What is dystopian fiction? Contrary to utopian fictions, in which an author projects an ideal worldview of humanity, dystopian fictions offer a darker vision of human behavior, where desired societal norms are turned on their heads. Thus, a society might led not by a beneficent, wise and humane ruler, but an immature, inhumane, simple-minded fool.
In 1984, Winston Smith lives under the intolerable, crippling and constant scrutiny of the ironically named ruler of Oceana, Big Brother. His attempts to find individual freedom within such a society forms the main drama of the novel.
Want to dig further into our collection of dystopian fiction? Here’s a list:
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson
The Stand by Stephen King
V For Vendetta by Alan Moore
Battle Royale by Koushun Takami
Blindness by José Saramago
I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
The Drowned World by J.G. Ballard
Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler
Most mornings, do you rise and shine, or just rise? When all-night studying, research, or parties compete for sleep, sometimes waking up is enough. Shining? Not so much.
But at Ekstrom Library, some student assistants are being asked to shine up – i.e., dress better than usual – once a week, on what is known as Shine Day. The program was enacted this Fall by Ekstrom’s Access and User Services (AUS) department to help student assistants look their professional best, and experience the real world of work.
Participating students dress in “business casual” for one day a week for an entire semester, an upgrade from the current requirement of “student casual,” which can range from neat and low-key, to downright rumpled.
So far the results have been positive, said Ashley Triplett, Student Supervisor for Access and User Services (AUS) at Ekstrom Library.
“So many of the AUS student workers have embraced the concept and are really enjoying it,” Triplett said. “They look so great, and when they dress up, even a little bit, they shine.”
“The purpose is to help students develop their professional identities and understand how appearance can affect performance,” she continued.
University Libraries student assistant Jun Ruan, a sophomore in the nursing program, said she feels more professional on Shine Days, and is even taken more seriously.
“One day I was dressed up a bit and went to the Speed museum. Several people started asking me for directions and about the museum because they thought I worked there,” she said.
The program’s success has led AUS to continue the practice into the Spring semester. Next time you visit Ekstrom, see if you can tell which students are shining.
(Photos by Ashley Triplett)
What are we, the University Libraries, all about? What do we do, and what is our story?
Discover. Create. Succeed.
These three words describe our patrons’ process of interaction with the Libraries. They evoke the wonder and excitement of learning, the reciprocal interaction between finding material and turning it into scholarship, and the projected outcome of having interacted with our invaluable resources, whether printed, digital or human.
The University Libraries are vital to the academic success of the University of Louisville community. Both on campus and online, we are a key resource, teaching students best practices in scholarly research and collaborating with faculty to support their pedagogy. Our rich resources promote academic success. Above all, we help make UofL great.
With an important place in the UofL framework, the Libraries invite students, faculty, staff, alumni and visitors to revisit our facilities and interact with our resources, and our people.
The University Libraries support over 170 fields of study within 12 schools and colleges. Over three million people visit our libraries annually, and millions more access our website at http://www.louisville.edu/library. As members of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), the University of Louisville Libraries rank among the top 100 academic research libraries in North America.
Visit your University Library to learn more!
A visual feast awaits students, researchers and visitors in Ekstrom Library this week. In celebration of el Día de los muertos, or Day of the Dead, a national holiday celebrated throughout Latin America, traditional kites made by University of Louisville Spanish students hung in the third floor lobby, while altars honoring those who have passed away this year, including David Bowie and Muhammad Ali were set up in the Lower Level and on the first floor.
In Mexico, Día de los muertos is recognized as a National Holiday. The celebration takes place on November 1-2, in connection with the Catholic holidays: All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. Traditions include building private altars honoring the deceased and
visiting graves with gifts.
Los barriletes gigantes (giant kites) are a unique tradition in Guatemala. For months, teams work to build giant kites made of bamboo and tissue paper. The designs are incredibly intricate and often hold a political message. On Nov. 1, the giant kites are taken to a sacred hill on the outside of town, overlooking the main cemetery. There is music, dancing, food and general celebration. At dusk, the kites, 6 meters in height and width, are
launched. The high November winds soon tear the kites to pieces, symbolic of the life
and death that all celebrate on el Día de los Muertos.
University of Louisville Spanish students have been studying the diverse ways in which el Día de los muertos is celebrated throughout Latin America. The Ekstrom Library annual event showcases the culmination of these lessons with a small Día de los muertos celebration.
To learn more: