Available Until 2/21/2028

Using Ethnography and User Experience in Health Sciences Libraries

For more information or to schedule this course, please contact  Janina Kaldan <janina.kaldan@atlantichealth.org>.

The program will consist of a whole day CE workshop given by two speakers on the topic of ethnographic research and user experience and how these topics relate to providing library services and design that facilitate users’ locating and accessing needed information resources. The workshop will include hands-on activities and small group work.

Ethnographic research is a new concept to many health sciences librarians. Many librarians don’t understand why or how it can be useful in their jobs. Ethnographic research and user experience studies in libraries can represent the experience of the library user helping librarians better understand how people use information resources, library services and the physical space in libraries. This research can be used to help libraries make decisions about library services. Ethnographic research and user experience studies are approaches to learning more about users’ information behaviors and interactions with information resources. A number of studies of libraries and their users have been conducted using a variety of ethnographic methods, much of which has been done in academic libraries, (Ramsden, 2016, Foster, 2014, Khoo, 2011). Few have explored its use specifically in medical and health sciences libraries (Twiss-Brooks, et al., 2015). Some literature has also discussed user experience studies in libraries (MacDonald, 2015). In 2011, the Association of Research Libraries surveyed member libraries about their work in this area, publishing the survey results with examples of user experience activities in a SPEC Kit, available on their website. Library Journal publishes a regular column about user experience, written by Aaron Schmidt. There are also a number of articles about user experience in health sciences libraries, several of which address library mobile websites. Health sciences libraries provide access to high quality information resources for their users, however less is known about when and how users access these resources. In surveying health sciences faculty about their use of online information resources, DeGroote, Shultz, & Blecic (2014) found that a significant number do not appear to be aware of the resources available to them from their library, including links to access full text journal articles in PubMed and how to access library resources remotely. In addition, some studies have shown that physicians, nurses and other clinicians may not know how to successfully search databases such as PubMed or Ovid MEDLINE (Clarke et. al, 2013, Ellsworth, et al., 2015). O’Carroll et al. (2015) found that while medical students were taught how to search databases such as PubMed in medical school, once they entered clinical clerkships they used Google most frequently to find the information they needed. Learning more about ethnographic and user experience research methods may allow librarians to expand users’ access to information resources available to them from health sciences libraries and improve their experiences of using those resources.

Learning Objectives

After attending the CE program, attendees will leave with:

• A conceptual understanding of user experience design and its place in a library

• Practical, introductory knowledge of user testing methods

• Practical, introductory knowledge of content strategy methods

• Practical, introductory knowledge of “ethnographish” user research

• An introduction to evidence-based design including process and methods

• Tools to use in envisioning the future of a library and identifying important questions to answer

• The knowledge of how to plan a project in which the library’s community is engaged and evidence forms the basis for design decisions


8:00 - 8:30 a.m. Registration and continental breakfast
8:30 - 11:30 a.m. Pete Coco, “See Better, Fail Better, repeat: User Experience in your library“ 11:30 a.m.—Noon Members: Business Meeting / Non-members: Vendor Exhibits
Noon - 1:00 p.m. Lunch is served
1:00 - 5:00 p.m. Nancy Fried Foster, “A User-Centered Approach to the Design of Health Sciences Libraries”

Facility Requirements

The training facility will provide for seating and a writing surface for each participant. Instructors will utilize PowerPoint presentations on the laptop. An LCD projector and projection screen will be provided. The facility also has proper sound capability.

MLA CE Credits: 7