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What is beyond books and journals? Pointers from CIBER’s Virtual Scholar programme David Nicholas CIBER UCL Centre for Publishing, Department of Information.

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Presentation on theme: "What is beyond books and journals? Pointers from CIBER’s Virtual Scholar programme David Nicholas CIBER UCL Centre for Publishing, Department of Information."— Presentation transcript:

1 What is beyond books and journals? Pointers from CIBER’s Virtual Scholar programme David Nicholas CIBER UCL Centre for Publishing, Department of Information Studies University College London

2 Two bits of information to get you thinking An internet year is only 7 weeks The biggest users of the House of Commons intranet are robots - by miles, and there are pages that only robots ever go to What is the significance of this? By the end of the talk you will be able to answer this!

3 Pointers come from the straight from the horse’s mouth, millions of horses 8 years of collecting digital fingerprints of millions of scholars (students, kids, academic researchers, lecturers, general public) from all over the world and every field under the sun Users of following: ScienceDirect, Oxford Journals, Synergy, BL Learn, Intute, OhioLink, Oxford Scholarship Online, MyiLibrary, Wiley Interscience, IoP Journals, NHS Direct Online, Times Online, Independent Online etc Be a mug to ignore this evidence…there are plenty of mugs… The evidence is that the what lies beyond books and journals has to be (user-facing and informed) e-book and journal services! The pointers are:

4 Pointer 1: E-journals & books are VERY popular – don’t forget this Hugely popular and escalating demand –Everything offered used –Vast amounts of use – millions & millions of pages viewed and millions of visits made. Numbers astonishing. –Double digit levels of growth - despite wall-gardened systems –Plenty of growth in system (millions of people still like to use but cannot) and products can be improved (more later) –Good for you – high consumption levels lead to very positive outcomes. –Watch fireworks with e-books - will lead to new and closer relationship between books and journals which will power both to new heights (OUP)

5 Pointer 2: big growth from e-books – don’t forget have only seen phase 1 of the digital transition Offer condensed, distilled knowledge – big demand; inappropriate use of journals Textbook access particular big issue with students - unblock the blockage! Under-utilised resource because contents not digitally visible, now accessible, roads and motorways built, suitable for power browsing Bait of abstract and keyword, raises to the prominence (digital visibility) enjoyed by e-journals Students, humanities scholars and general public can join the e- revolution, enter the virtual scholarly space.

6 Pointer 3: there are other attractions…think reliability, quality and brand Journals and books have a high degree of visibility and recognition People know what they are shopping for and getting Links nicely and strongly to brand and authority (quality products) Business class product In an anonymous, confused and crowded environment pretty important to recognise this

7 Pointer 4: twin pillars of scholarly communication doing well, thanks to digital transition Where the dangers and opportunities lie exist not in new systems, social networking etc but understanding what has happened to scholars as being fast forwarded into the virtual scholarly space We now know more about how people use and seek for books and journals than we ever did and need to make this work for us – and we don’t! Each new system, new diversion risks further disconnecting from the customer base – they have become anonymous The most important things we need to understand, stick on the back of the door follow

8 Pointer 5: Information seeking is fast, direct and highly pragmatic…forget notions of quiet contemplation, disciplined reading Most users visit for only a few minutes, and view only a couple of pages. Opposite of fast-bag drop, fast-bag pick-up The don’t want to hang around! In and out Help them speed through the site, save time. There is nothing wrong with that

9 Pointer 6: they like it short Shorter it is the more likely it is to be read online If its long, either read the abstract or squirrel it away for a day when it might not be read (digital osmosis) People actually prefer abstracts much of the time, even when given the choice Go online to avoid reading

10 Pointer 7: they like it simple – but publishers and librarians seem to think otherwise! Users by-pass carefully-crafted discovery systems. Killer stats (1): 4 months after SD content was opened to Google, a third of traffic to physics journals came that way. Effect is particularly notable since physics richly endowed with information systems and services; (2) Historians biggest users of Google, together with young people While Google searching hugely popular, once users enter a site browse rather than search again using internal search engine (don’t trust it, too complicated). Advanced search used rarely, and hardly at all by users in highly-rated research institutions.Add-ons and innovations distinctly a minority sport – alerts, VLEs, blogs

11 Pointer 8: they do it all the time – this is a solid and undisputable outcome Logs fantastic for discovering exactly when scholars search Use well into the night and over the weekend Quarter of use occurs outside the ‘traditional’ working day and weekends account for around 15% of use (another working day!) Some things never change - Lunch time still the busiest time and Monday lunchtimes the busiest of all (e-shopping) October the busiest month Government researchers don’t search weekends or in the evenings! Economists most likely to work out of hours and life scientists the least

12 Pointer 9: want ‘immersive’ social information environments but few people listening! Said something which threw us all initially - they could not understand why they had to do all the work in getting something from the website. At first this was attributed to laziness but it turned out not to be that. They felt the content was locked, submerged and they had to dig a lot to see it, when maybe the service could make some things available automatically – the data coming to them, rather than having to chase it. Returned book trolley! Come on guys wake up, stop chasing FaceBook the lessons to be learnt are in your own backyard

13 Pointer 10: Diversity rules OK ! Subject: Life Scientists insatiable Type of organisation: government labs and universities in same subject exhibit very different information behaviour. Research-intensive universities: behave very differently –Per capita use is highest in most research-intensive institutions –Users spend much less time on visit –Forsake most of the online facilities provided –More likely to enter via gateway sites Searching: Germans most ‘successful’ searchers & most active information seekers. Age: older users more likely to come back, and view abstracts. Young people use Google more, spend more time online viewing. Staff v student use

14 Pointer 11: need to relate/information seeking to establish outcomes Lets use the data for purposes other than measuring activity Public good does not wash anymore (those warm feelings) Access no longer an outcome Better students, degrees, researchers, more funding etc Cost-effectiveness – the car park question Which leads us to our RIN research

15 Lessons Business class services It works but could work better – more immersive, more community, more outcomes Don’t complicate things, don’t get hung up on models, just watch and react to the consumer. Turn that information seeking data to gold Identify best practice, benchmark (digital literacy) Fast food The only new thing I think will work is data Back to the initial questions…answers, please!

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