December 2017 ITAL Issue Published

lita: empowering libraries through technology

The December issue (volume 36, number 4) of Information Technology and Libraries (ITAL) is now available at:

The December 2017 issue Reviewed Articles and Communications

“Mobile Website Use and Advanced Researchers: Understanding Library Users at a University Marine Sciences Branch Campus”
Mary J. Markland, Hannah Gascho Rempel, and Laurie Bridges

This exploratory study examined the use of the Oregon State University Library’s  website via mobile devices by advanced researchers at an off-campus branch location. Branch campus affiliated faculty, staff, and graduate students were invited to participate in a survey to determine what their research behaviors are via mobile devices including frequency of mobile library website use and the tasks they were attempting to complete. Findings showed that while these advanced researchers do periodically use the library’s website via mobile devices, mobile devices are not the primary mode of searching for articles and books or for reading scholarly sources. Mobile devices are most frequently used for viewing the library website when these advanced researchers are at home or in transit. Results of this survey will be used to address knowledge gaps around library resources and research tools and to generate more ways to study advanced researchers’ use of library services via mobile devices.

“Metadata Provenance and Vulnerability”
Timothy Robert Hart and Denise de Vries

The preservation of digital objects has become an urgent task in recent years as it has been realised that digital media have a short life span. The pace of technological change makes accessing these media more and more difficult. Digital preservation is accomplished by two main methods, migration and emulation. Migration has been proven to be a lossy method for many types of digital objects. Emulation is much more complex; however, it allows preserved digital objects to be rendered in their original format, which is especially important for complex types such as those made up of multiple dynamic files. Both methods rely on good metadata in order to maintain change history or construct an accurate representation of the required system environment. In this paper, we present our findings that show the vulnerability of metadata and how easily they can be lost and corrupted by everyday use. Furthermore, this paper aspires to raise awareness and to emphasise the necessity of caution and expertise when handling digital data by highlighting the importance of provenance metadata.

“Everyone’s Invited: A Website Usability Study Involving Multiple Library Stakeholders”
Elena Azadbakht, John Blair, and Lisa Jones

This article describes a usability study of the University of Southern Mississippi Libraries’ website conducted in early 2016. The study involved six participants from each of four key user groups – undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty, and library employees – and consisted of six typical library search tasks such as finding a book and an article on a topic, locating a journal by title, and looking up hours of operation. Library employees and graduate students completed the study’s tasks most successfully, whereas undergraduate students performed fairly simple searches and relied on the Libraries’ discovery tool, Primo. The study’s results identified several problematic features that impacted each user group, including library employees. This increased internal buy-in for usability-related changes in a later website redesign.

Editorial Content

Submit Your Ideas
for contributions to ITAL to Ken Varnum, editor, at with your proposal. Current formats are generally

  • Articles – original research or comprehensive and in-depth analyses, in the 3000-5000 word range.
  • Communications – brief research reports, technical findings, and case studies, in the 1000-3000 word range.

Questions or Comments?

For all other questions or comments related to LITA publications, contact LITA at (312) 280-4268 or Mark Beatty,