In these turbulent times, with the challenges of a constantly changing job market, shifting information-seeking behaviour and a vast array of new resources continually being produced, library and information services need to constantly keep one step, or more, ahead of their users.
The benefits of analysing user behaviour are self-evident: better strategic planning, cost benefits and better use of budgets, better marketing, satisfied customers, satisfied management, and a library or information unit that is central to the needs of your parent organization.
However, paradoxically, user needs and levels of expectation, including those of remote users, are often not fully explored. This accessible text goes back to the basics and investigates the following key issues:
- Why this book? Defining your users
- Understanding users: the what, why, where, when, how and who
- What is the current knowledge of user behaviour and needs: is it really predictable?
- Great expectations: how LIS professionals can manage and train users
- Using information about past user behaviour
- Making the most of knowing your users
- Keeping track of changes in what users want
- Tracking the future: electronic and social networking
- Future perfect?
Readership: This book will help any library or information professional anywhere to take a fresh look at this important area and to tackle it in their organization, so as to ensure that their users will always obtain exactly what they want. Webmasters and knowledge managers will also find much to interest them.
1. Why this book?
2. Understanding users – the what, why, where, when, how and who
- What services do LIS users need, and what should they have?
- Why we need to know about our users and their behaviour
- Where are the users of the service? How does this affect their ideas and expectations of good service?
- When to talk to users about their information needs
- How users obtain information and how to assess their habits
- Who do you need to consider when planning and performing the audit?
- What next?
3. What is the current knowledge about your users and their needs – is it really predictable?
- Who and where are your users?
- Categorizing your users
- (Great) user expectations
- Can you predict what your users want?
4. Great expectations: how LIS professionals can manage and train users
- Managing users of the service
- Levels of user expectations
- The role of the information professional in delivering customer services
- What do we really know about user needs and behaviour?
5. Using information about past user behaviour
- The value of information about past user behaviour
- Library surveys
- What the results of your information audit may tell you about user needs
- Using the results of surveys to adjust services
- Using the results of surveys to decide whether to close services or create new ones
- The value of information over time
6. Making the most of knowing your users
- Better strategic planning through analysis of user behaviour
- Achieving cost benefits and making better use of budgets
7. Keeping track of changes in what users want
- Helping users to review their information needs
- How to keep track of changes in what users want
- How and where to find information about changes in service
- Surveys and statistics
- Wider uses of information professional skills: reputation management
- Know your users: building user loyalty and keeping it
- What next?
8. Tracking the future
- Keeping a watch on the wider changing world
- Your networks – what can they tell you?
9. Future perfect?
- Some recommendations
- Is there a patron?
- The library as place
- Shh, this is a digital library…
- Shaping a modern library
- Challenges for the future
Appendix 1. Reading list and references
Appendix 2. Where to go for further information
"In a time of economic constraints this practical book gives ideas on how to ensure that your services are aligned with your user needs. It is not a magic bullet, but it gives information workers a wealth of practical how-to ideas which are supported by numerous examples and an extensive reading list."
- Library Management
"This book provides a myriad of practical and somewhat detailed ideas on how to assess what your LIS user wants, what you have and how to make up the difference. Pantry and Griffiths discuss current issues such as Web 2.0 applications more in an effort to make readers aware rather than offering practical suggestions on implementation. Yet the reader is not left feeling dissatisfied. This work contains a sizable annotated bibliography for each chapter as well as a section titled Where to Go for Information...Overall, this book is recommended to LIS managers and supervisors. It would make a practical and worthwhile contribution to any collection."
- Australian Library Journal