May I Help You? How Ekstrom Responds, Analyzes and Acts on Your Questions

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.

Gimlet word cloud

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!


Wikipedians Unite at UofL Libraries

2017 is the second year that UofL’s Margaret M. Bridwell Art Library hosted community members to learn about how to edit Wikipedia.  Over a dozen people attended this event to combat gender disparity in the art world.

Artist Elizabeth Catlett wrote “No other field is closed to those who are not white and male as is the visual arts. After I decided to be an artist, the first thing I had to believe was that I, a black woman, could penetrate the art scene, and that, further, I could do so without sacrificing one iota of my blackness or my femaleness or my humanity.”1

Not only is the field of contemporary art difficult for women and non-binary people to break into, but the highly-masculine culture of Wikipedia is also a barrier to gender equality.  For example, articles about topics typically associated with females (Polly Pocket) are typically shorter and link to fewer references, while those associated with males (Nerf) are longer, and include more references.

In a 2011 survey, Wikimedia found that less than 13% of its contributors were female.

Art+Feminism is a global, grassroots campaign to end gender disparity within Wikipedia, not only in terms of the number or articles about women in the visual arts, but more importantly the number of female editors.  Attendees gathered to attend a training about how to edit Wikipedia articles before beginning to make edits of their own.  In Louisville, attendees included UofL students, professors, and local St. Francis School high school students.  New editors corrected facts, added citations to existing article, and ultimately created two new articles.

Articles improved include those about African-American artists Senga Nengudi and Elizabeth Catlett.  Both are sculptors, and known for their work on themes of race, gender, and class.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

  1. Farris, Phoebe. Women Artists of Color: A Bio-critical Sourcebook to 20th Century Artists in the Americas. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1999.

New Peer-Reviewed Journal in ThinkIR

By Rachel Howard

Most peer-reviewed academic journals are subscription-based: some require high fees from academic libraries and their institutions, while others charge authors directly if they want to make their content freely available to other scholars and researchers through open access. The University of Louisville recently launched its own open access, peer-reviewed journal, The Journal of Respiratory Infections, using ThinkIR, the University of Louisville’s institutional repository in University Libraries.

Released on January 30, the new journal is one of several open access journals planned for hosting in ThinkIR that will serve the needs of scholars and researchers worldwide regardless of their means and without toll barriers.

img_7675bestLeft to right: Rachel Howard, Sarah Frankel, and Jessica Petrey of University Libraries; Dr. Julio Ramirez, Dr. Bill Mattingly, Kimberley Buckner, and Matt Grassman of Division of Infectious Diseases.

Doctors in UofL’s Division of Infectious Diseases approached their Clinical Librarian, Kornhauser Library’s Jessica Petrey, last year about their idea to publish two open access journals: one focused on respiratory infections and the other on refugee and global health. They had thought through the aims and scope of these journals, and identified who within the division and the field they wanted to be involved, but they needed the Libraries’ help with hosting it and providing digital preservation of journal content – a prerequisite to getting it listed in PubMed.

Jessica put them in touch with Rachel Howard, Digital Initiatives Librarian, whose work involves digital preservation as well as open access. As a result of the work of Rachel, Sarah Frankel, the Libraries’ Open Access and Repository Coordinator, Dwayne K. Buttler, the Evelyn G. Schneider Endowed Chair for Scholarly Communication at UofL, and the Scholarly Communication and Data Management Work Group, the Libraries developed policies, procedures, and agreements to support the Division of Infectious Diseases as a pilot project for a new phase of repository development. Jessica expanded her support of the Division by serving as copy editor of the journal.

On January 30, 2017, the Division of Infectious Diseases celebrated the launch of Journal of Respiratory Infections Volume 1, Issue 1, with a party at MedCenterOne. Petrey, Howard, and Frankel were in attendance, where they were warmly thanked by Division of Infectious Diseases Chief Dr. Julio Ramirez.


Feminist Wikipedia Editors Gather at UofL

A global phenomenon, Art+Feminism, arrived in Louisville on Saturday, March 19th when Bridwell Art Library and the Hite Art Institute co-hosted a satellite Wikipedia event.  Over the course of an afternoon, nine Wikipedians collaborated to write a new article about the International Honor Quilt (IHQ), an important community-based art project inspired by Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party artwork.  Although the quilt has been acknowledged as a precursor to the well-known NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt, no Wikipedia article had been created for the IHQ.

View of Editors Seated at Tables

Editors work on the International Honor Quilt article at the University of Louisville. Examples of the quilt can be seen pictured in the background.

Co-organizers Trish Blair and Sarah Carter ran the event to teach community members how to create Wikipedia accounts, understand the anatomy of a wiki page, establish notability, and learn to code using wiki mark-up.  One experienced Wikipedian drove in from Lexington to attend the event and provide her support.  A grad student, community artist, UofL alumna, and regional quilter made up the rest of the work group.

 

Flyer and Books

Event flyers for the Wikipedia Art+Feminism event on top of a selection of useful reference books.

Writing the article involved locating published sources documenting the quilt.  This is where the Art Library’s collection of books and periodicals came into play.  Wikipedians were able to locate books and articles in the library that mention the quilt’s origin and importance within Judy Chicago’s career.  By the end of the day, the International Honor Quilt article was live on Wikipedia.

The Art+Feminism movement is in its third year, having held its inaugural edit-a-thon at the Museum of Modern Art in 2014.  According to an article published last year, the movement’s goal is to simultaneously “close the gender gap in both content and participation in Wikipedia.”  Louisville joined over 125 locations across Africa, Asia, Europe, Oceania, North and South America in holding a satellite event.


Libraries bid Fond Farewell to OLT’s Sahab Bolhari

On Friday, the Libraries says goodbye to a familiar, friendly member of the technical crew. Sahab Bolhari, a student worker with the Libraries’ Office of Libraries Technology (OLT), has been hired as a Technical Specialist with the History, Anthropology and Geography/Geosciences departments, and begins work on January 11.

Highly proficient, congenial, and a member of the tech crew since July, 2012, Bolhari will be greatly missed by his co-workers. sahab_bolhari

“Sahab has that renaissance blend, a unique pairing of preeminence as a technician, but also someone who likes people and is nice to work with,” said Troy Plumer, OLT technology consultant. “He embodies that liberal arts adage, ‘The next best thing to knowing is knowing how to find out.’”

“IT is constantly changing . . . Sahab really understands this and is constantly evolving,” Plumer continued.

“We’ll miss him greatly.”

Bolhari is set to graduate in May with a major in political science, and a minor in Russian Studies. His first love is IT, though, and he has enjoyed working with OLT for the past three years.

“IT is my passion. I haven’t had a single day where I’ve dreaded going into work. I really enjoy what I do, so that makes things easy.”

So why the political science degree? “The degree is just to make me a more well-rounded person,” he said.

He had praise for his co-workers as well.

“I learned a lot from Sheila [Birkla],” he said. “She has been kind of my mentor here. I didn’t know as much as I thought I did when I first got here. She gave me lots of advice and that has been very important.”

Members of OLT will honor Sahab with cake and cookies on Friday, January 8th, celebrating his new position, and bidding a sad farewell.

Luckily he’ll just be a two-minute walk across the Belknap campus, in Lutz Hall.

Sahab is among some 90 students who work for the University Libraries with tasks such as research, customer service, administrative support, checking out books and equipment, and other duties. Students learn how to navigate a real job, and the Libraries truly benefit from their efforts.

“We are one of the largest employers of student workers on campus,” said Libraries Associate Dean Melissa Laning. “They are a hugely important part of the services we offer.”


Resources Available During Renovation

Throughout the 1st Floor East renovation at Ekstrom, the Library will keep as many resources available as possible. Some items have moved to new locations.

Current available resources and locations within Ekstrom Library:

  • Tulip Tree Café: 8 public computers
  • Tulip Tree Café: 1 public printer
  • Current Periodicals on 2nd floor: 3 computers
  • Access and User Services desk: 15 MacBooks and 25 Laptops (Undergrads, Graduate students, Staff, and Faculty only)

Libraries Upgrade Cloud-Based Catalog and Management System

As many of you are aware, the University of Louisville Libraries system is upgrading its catalog to the latest version, OCLC’s WorldCat Discovery, a cloud-based system. The upgrade, scheduled for early June, will enhance search capacity, expand user services, and continue to meet the evolving requirements of library faculty and staff.
Most of the changes will be minor shifts in the interface or functionality, but you may also notice changes in:
• The login screen for off-campus access.
• The process for renewing books online.
• The process for requesting items from the Robotic Retrieval System.
• The Journal Finder.
All changes will be described in this WorldCat Discovery Guide. (Please check back as the guide will be regularly updated).
Simultaneous to the switch of the catalog, a much larger transition will be happening behind the scenes, on the library staff side of the system. The UofL Libraries will move from the Ex Libris Voyager system, in use since 1998, to OCLC’s WorldShare Management System (WMS). The change in workflow is significant, as WMS’s technology represents an evolution to a cloud-based system of library operations. While some issues are inevitable in a transition of this scale, the Libraries will strive to minimize the impact on patron services.
Three other Kentucky universities, Eastern Kentucky University, Kentucky State University, Northern Kentucky University, have either gone live, or plan to soon, with WorldCat Discovery. Over 325 libraries in three countries are currently using WMS to share bibliographic records, publisher and knowledge base data, vendor records, serials patterns and more. UofL Libraries will be the third Association of Research Libraries (ARL) member to use the system.
The UofL Libraries apologizes in advance for any inconvenience caused by this upgrade, and welcomes your feedback on the new system. For any additional questions, please contact the Libraries’ WMS team: Tyler Goldberg (stgold01@exchange.louisville.edu), Randy Kuehn (rtkueh01@exchange.louisville.edu) or Weiling Liu (w0liu001@exchange.louisville.edu).