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Going Virtual For Enhanced Library Experience: A Case Study of The National Library of Singapore Schubert Foo, Judy Ng*, Ann Soh*

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Presentation on theme: "Going Virtual For Enhanced Library Experience: A Case Study of The National Library of Singapore Schubert Foo, Judy Ng*, Ann Soh*"— Presentation transcript:

1 Going Virtual For Enhanced Library Experience: A Case Study of The National Library of Singapore Schubert Foo, Judy Ng*, Ann Soh* Email: URL: * National Library Board,

2 Introduction The Library as … info-concierge 2.a network of inter-connected info-concierge 3.a network of true collaborators Case study of National Library Singapore 1.SMS reference service 2.Access content through GYM/other online spaces 3.Collaborative reference network

3 Introduction

4 Our Library… Brick vs Click Collect-Organise-Store-Access Mediator (Source-User) Authoritative-Trusted content Programs (Talks, Workshops, Exhibitions, Tours, Outreach), Campaigns, Volunteers… Our LibraryOur Users Our World Minority Scholars, Researchers, Lib-savvy users Majority Baby Boomers (40s -60s), X(60s -80s), Y(70s-90s), Z(>90s) Our Users… Info needs met by Search Engines? Web info is legitimate and only source? Think library or think GYM? Expect instant gratification Find info until it is downloadable Expect exception user experience (Memorable, Unique, Exquisitely simple) ?

5 User Trends & Observations Survey on Perceptions of Libraries and Information Resources (OCLC, 2005) Findings: Instant access is taken for granted. If it is not on the net, it does not exist for many of them.

6 84% of users start search using Internet search engine 1% uses library catalogues..

7 Neilsen/NetRatings, 2007 SE market share of GYM searches (US): Google (55.8%) Yahoo (20.7%) MSN (9.6%)

8 Our Library Our Users Our World MinorityMajority ? What to do? Delve into the information space of the users (Our World) Make resources more “discoverable” by users Through them, bring them back into the library space (Our Library)

9 INTERNET penetration in Singapore (May 2007) Dial up Internet: 32.8 % of population Broadband Internet: 69.2 % of population Source:

10 MOBILE phone penetration in Singapore (IDA, 2007) 109.1 per cent of the population in May 2007 according to the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA). Source

11 Singapore - SMS Nation Straits Times Sunday (13 Jan 2008, p 4) noted Singaporeans are among the world's top texters, with a monthly average of 209 text msgs and a total of 12 billion sent last year. In 3 rd place after Malaysia (210 msgs) and Philippines (846 msgs). Reasons: Relatively cheap cost of sending SMSes, Singapore telcos’ offer of free SMSes in their mobile plans, and the growing acceptance of its use in everyday life including business dealings, a practice unheard elsewhere.

12 Role of Library To connect users to resources that users need for whatever purposes, in any format, from anywhere, using any device, at the time (instantaneous for some) they want it.

13 Library as an info-concierge Individual information object is a self-sustaining, self- contained “node” unit Can be content or service Content can be any format, singular unit of reference article, catalogue record, or complete research article. Each node is self-contained Inter-connected Multi-access points

14 Upon discovery, an information object becomes an info- concierge with ability to connect to other content (within and outside library) or other information seekers.

15 Connectivity can be achieved by: Hyperlinks within the webpage or website. Putting content in different platform to support discovery “Pushing” information to suggestion for exploration of other related categories of resources. Connectivity not necessarily one way. We are basically evolving a mesh (web) of information. What’s Next ?

16 What’s NEXT ? Content harvested from both the internal and external resources 5. Photos and stories to share, Join us @ Infopedia Talk 1. Browse by Subjects +Arts+Business, finance and industry +Computers and Information Technology +Cookery+Education+Health and medicine +History+Home and Garden+Language and Literature +Law and government+People and communities+Philosophy, psychology and religion +Science and Technology+Sports, recreation and travel 2. Browse by Format Digitized booksPictures Audio Web archives 3. Recommended Relational Search to Kusu Island - Landmark- St John Island - Facilities- Sentosa - History- Pulau Ubin Show related search tree: Kusu Island 4. Up and Coming Events

17 Individual or group of information objects can be “released” to spaces outside the library (e.g. social and learning networks to be part of service offerings)  promote discovery Residency in other spaces allows users to use them as best suited for their needs. Example:




21 Library as a network of inter-connected info- concierges Librarians’ role to create the connectivity between info-concierges. Requires: Harvesting of other resources. Selecting, authenticating contents Meta-tagging. Creating, maintaining and growing taxonomies Information content organisation

22 INTERNAL NLB web content/Subscribed Databases EXTERNAL Google, Yahoo, MSN MICA, IDA, NAS  A service by librarians to aid discovery

23 Library as network of true collaborators Connectivity : content-content people-content people-people Dialog/information sharing tools: wikis, blogs, social spaces “Library owned” and “others owned” content The Library

24 National Library of Singapore : Case Study

25 Walkway to NL – Exhibition alert, Services, I Love My Library campaign

26 Book wall, books and microfilms...

27 Reference collection – materials in different languages

28 Information-Reference kiosks, New arrivals

29 Multimedia stations – premium membership

30 Donors’ collections

31 Kaalachakra – SEAsia scriptures exhibition

32 Exhibition – physical + virtual  Eventually virtual online exhibition

33 Permanent exhibits - Singapore literary pioneers

34 NLB smart building - Book to be published

35 The PoD (16 th storey) - The Edge in Melbourne?

36 NLS repositions reference and information services (RIS) to meet users’ changing expectations and consumer lifestyles: Service within reach – RIS wherever, however and whenever with any device in hand Service as a lifestyle – make RIS available within users’ social spaces Service as a team – provide RIS by collective knowledge of community (through collaborative platform)

37 The SMS Reference Service (Service within reach)

38 Users search for information via: Online catalogue (1%) Search engines (GYM)(84%) Ask a librarian - Phone/Video conferencing - Email - SMS

39 SMS User enters question via SMS (160 chars EN): E.g. What impact does nutrition have on the development of countries in different parts of the world? Librarian resolves enquiry and enters answers via input template User’s Question

40 User obtains answers via reply SMS. Reply in form of direct answer or URL User views answer via phone, PDA or desktop Librarian’s reply

41 Demo





46 Observations Overall positive feedback. Various types of questions answered. Some users expect instant replies. Usage rate averages 10 – 15 enquiries daily. SMS service is an added avenue to support RIS.

47 Accessing NLS content through GYM and other online spaces (Service as a lifestyle)

48 Users search for information via: Online catalogue (1%) Search engines (GYM)(84%) Ask a librarian - Phone/Video conferencing - Email - SMS

49 Provide service and content in users’ preferred lifestyle spaces Some approaches for Infopedia access: Access via micro-site dedicated to Infopedia Provision of interactive Infopedia map Location of map can also be searched via EarthGoogle Map or Google Search engine optimisation to make visible Infopedia pages through online searching *Infopedia articles are authored NLS reference librarians about personalities, places and historical events in Singapore

50 Access via micro-site dedicated to Infopedia

51 Provision of interactive Infopedia map Demo

52 Location of map can also be searched via Google Map Demo

53 Location of map can also be searched via Google Earth Demo

54 Search engine optimisation for online searching

55 Observations Content usage increased exponentially with better exposure on Web  Increase in content value Before: 200-400 views per month After: 63,000 views per month (157- fold increase) Other micro-sites are being currently developed (E.g. Singapore National Bibliography, New arrivals)

56 Collaborative Reference Network (Service as a team)

57 Remaking Collaborative Reference Service Deployment Model 1 Librarian’s Expertise FromTo Collaborative Model Community Expertise Librarians Researchers Enquirers



60 Arts Science/Tech Singapore/SEA, Business


62 “Wiki”-like platform - Multi-user collaboration -Threaded email environment - Blogs for discussion/learning - Launched in 2007 for NLB librarians – pilot tested and evaluated

63 Characteristics Librarians and experts can collaboratively help other respond to query anywhere, anytime Communities can be dynamically formed. Members alerted by SMS or email - straight access to threaded emails Members can view entire discussion and draft version of reply, suggest inclusions, edits, etc. Enquiries answered subsequently packaged into self- service enquiry database for users and librarians to re- use. Subsequent access to enquiries via GYM spaces and NLS website.

64 Observations Each library’s reference point can retain its identity Reference Communities can include librarians, experts or even enquirers outside NLB Profile of Libraries and Librarians if the Communities go public Enriching Reference. Each Reference Point gets more expertise than the sum of its librarians Capability Building. Learning librarians in Singapore can join to view the inputs from experienced librarians and experts. Challenge: Changing knowledge sharing mindset

65 Conclusions Many challenges remain to make these initiatives realizable and entrenched in everyday use by users. Requires much support, experimentation, budget, time, innovation… Future promises excitement for librarians, managers, developers, vendors …. Librarians will continue to grapple with constant flux of technological changes, users’ behaviour, users’ expectations and ……. the need to reinvent themselves and continue instilling information literacy knowledge to her users.



68 The “Google Generation” (born > 1993) may be computer literate but they are not information literate. Key problems the study found include: >No good search strategies to find quality information. >Find information quickly but do not know how to evaluate quality of information. >Don’t understand what the Internet really is: A vast network with many different content providers. Report says library resources should be more unified with Internet tools like Google, and adapt to the changing ways younger generations gather information.

69 Report also suggest that libraries abandon any hope of being a one-stop shop, and that much content will seldom be used, or never except that, other than perhaps a place from which to bounce. Libraries have to become more e-consumer friendly, connect to people's experiences of Facebook, Amazon, Myspace.

70 Schubert Foo Email: Thank You!

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