Spotlight on the digital

(7 October 2015) Jurn.org reports that JISC has commissioned a new September 2015 Spotlight Literature Review on scholarly discovery, which is available now in PDF. Short, but to-the-point…

in most cases staff over-estimate the extent to which users use different library services, in some cases very greatly. […] overall they think, it seems mistakenly, that the library discovery layer attracts very similar usage to Google Scholar

The publication is by Dr Ian Chowcat. He concludes:

While the effectiveness of new library discovery services is still uncertain, however, more is known about some of the barriers which may hinder effectiveness both in their design and in user information literacy. At the same time a debate is maturing about what the role of the academic library in scholarly discovery can and should be, with a more nuanced understanding of different types of discovery and exploration of how libraries can best support them – without the automatic assumption that the best role is to be the starting point.

Meanwhile the landscape of other discovery services continues to move on at a fast pace, as do the online habits and behaviours of new entrants to university bringing with them new challenges for inculcating scholarly routines. It may be that those universities who, while keeping abreast of the bigger picture, also make the effort to stay very close to their users and try to understand what they actually do in their discovery and overall scholarly workflows, in a very detailed way through ethnographic studies, are best placed to make the big decisions that will determine the future of library services.