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Information Technology and Libraries
Volume 32, Number 3 (September 2013)
Searchable Signatures: Context and the Struggle for Recognition
Social networking sites made possible through Web 2.0 allow for unique user-generated tags called “searchable signatures.” These tags move beyond the descriptive and act as means for users to assert online individual and group identities. A study of searchable signatures on the Instagram application demonstrates that these types of tags are valuable not only because they allow for both individuals and groups to engage in what social theorist Axel Honneth calls the struggle for recognition, but also because they provide contextual use data and sociohistorical information so important to the understanding of digital objects. This article explores how searchable signatures might be used by both patrons and staff in library environments.
A new generation of academic librarians, who are a part of the Millennial Generation born between 1982 and 2001 are now of the age to either be in graduate school or embarking on their careers. This paper, as part of a larger study examining Millennial academic librarians, their career selection, their attitudes, and their technology skills, looks specifically at the technology skills and attitudes towards technology among a group of young librarians and library school students. The author initially wanted to learn if the increasingly high tech nature of academic librarianship attracted Millennials to the career, but results showed that they had a much more complex relationship with technology than the author assumed.
Kristina L. Southwell and Jacquelyn Slater
An Evaluation of Finding Aid Accessibility for Screen Readers
Since the passage of the American Disabilities Act in 1990 and the coincident growth of the Internet, academic libraries have worked to provide electronic resources and services that are accessible to all patrons. Special collections are increasingly being added to these web-based library resources, and they must meet the same accessibility standards. The recent popularity surge of Web 2.0 technology, social media sites, and mobile devices has brought greater awareness about the challenges faced by those who use assistive technology for visual disabilities. This study examines the screen-reader accessibility of online special collections finding aids at 68 public US colleges and universities in the Association of Research Libraries.
Ping Fu and Moira Fitzgerald
A Comparative Analysis on the Effect of the Chosen ILSes on Systems and Technical Services Staffing Models
This analysis compares how the traditional integrated library system (ILS) and the next-generation ILS may impact system and technical services staffing models at academic libraries. The method used in this analysis is to select two categories of ILSs—two well-established traditional ILSs and three leading next-generation ILSs—and compare them by focusing on two aspects: (1) software architecture and (2) workflows and functionality. The results of the analysis suggest that the next-generation ILS could have substantial implications for library systems and technical staffing models in particular, suggesting that library staffing models could be redesigned and key librarian and staff positions redefined to meet the opportunities and challenges brought on by the next-generation ILS.
Usability Test Results for Encore in an Academic Library
This case study gives the results a usability study for the discovery tool Encore Synergy, an Innovative Interfaces product, launched at Appalachian State University Belk Library & Information Commons in January 2013. Nine of the thirteen participants in the study rated the discovery tool as more user friendly, according to a SUS (Standard Usability Scale) score, than the library’s tabbed search layout, which separated the articles and catalog search. All of the study’s participants were in favor of switching the interface to the new “one box” search. Several glitches in the implementation were noted and reported to the vendor. The study results have helped develop Belk library training materials and curricula. The study will also serve as a benchmark for further usability testing of Encore and Appalachian State Library’s website. This article will be of interest to libraries using Encore Discovery Service, investigating discovery tools, or performing usability studies of other discovery services.