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New Issue of ITAL

New Issue of ITAL

The December 2023 issue of Information Technology and Libraries (ITAL) was published on Monday, December 18. We’re pleased to share with you the fourth and final issue of the calendar year, with these peer-reviewed articles:

To Thine Own 3D Selfie Be True: Outreach for an Academic Library Makerspace with a 3D Selfie Booth / Alex Watson

To promote an academic library makerspace, the University of Mississippi Libraries hosted a “3D selfie” booth which used body scanning technology. This booth, advertised on campus and set up outside the library during the first weeks of class, was designed to attract attention and perform outreach through the use of body scans to be printed in the makerspace at a later date. Although the hoped-for printing of “selfies” did not materialize, the project resulted in data about interested patrons and ideas for similar projects going forward. This paper serves as a case study for other academic library makerspaces interested in similar outreach.

Towards an Open Source-First Praxis in Libraries / J. Robertson McIlwain

In terms of utility and technical quality, open source software solutions have become a common option for many libraries. As barriers to adoption have been reduced and systems such as FOLIO appear poised to change the landscape of LIS technology, it is worth examining how the use of open source can support the normative core values of librarianship, and to outline a strategy for critical engagement with the technology that is beneficial to patrons and libraries. That strategy will require further codification, institutionalization and investigation of open source at many levels.

Managing Your Library’s LibGuides: Conducting A Usability Study to Determine Student Preference for LibGuide Design / Julie Burchfield and Maggie Possinger

This paper discusses how the William G. Squires Library conducted a usability study on their LibGuides to identify student design preferences. The results of the study support previous research concerning best practices for LibGuide creation. This paper offers insight into how librarian-centric design hinders student success and provides suggestions for how to best develop a student-centric template design that offers consistency and increased user proficiency across all guides.

Reference Chatbots in Canadian Academic Libraries / Julia Guy, Paul R. Pival, Carla J. Lewis, and Kim Groome

Chatbots are “computer agents that can interact with the user” in a way that feels like human-to-human conversation. While the use of chatbots for reference service in academic libraries is a topic of interest for both library professionals and researchers, little is known about how they are used in library reference service, especially in academic libraries in Canada. This article aims to fill this gap by conducting a web-based survey of 106 academic library websites in Canada and analyzing the prevalence and characteristics of chatbot and live chat services offered by these libraries. The authors found that only two libraries were using chatbots for reference service. For live chat services, the authors found that 78 libraries provided this service. The article discusses possible reasons for the low adoption of chatbots in academic libraries, such as accessibility, privacy, cost, and professional identity issues. The article also provides a case study of the authors’ institution, the University of Calgary, which integrated a chatbot service in 2021. The article concludes with suggestions for future research on chatbot use in libraries.

Using Qualtrics XM to Create a Point-of-Use Survey to Assess the Usability of a Local Implementation of Primo / Matthew Black, Heather Ganshorn, and Justine Wheeler

In 2020, Libraries and Cultural Resources (LCR) at the University of Calgary used Qualtrics XM to design and pilot a point-of-use survey to collect user feedback on the usability of our implementation of Primo, Ex Libris’s web-scale discovery service. Over a two-week period, users were presented with the pop-up survey while searching and asked to provide feedback. This article summarizes how we designed and implemented this point-of-use survey and the lessons learned from this project.

In addition to those articles, we are pleased to present contributions from other voices:

Contributing to the Journal

We invite all readers to contribute to the journal. If you are involved in any aspect of libraries—we consider this an inclusive scope, including cultural memory institutions such as museums, archives, and more—we welcome submissions for peer-reviewed articles or communications. Information Technology and Libraries is proud to be diamond open access — that is, it is free to read for all, charges no article processing fees to authors or their institutions, and content is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. Want to know more? See our Call for Submissions. If you have questions or wish to bounce ideas off the editor and assistant editor, please contact either of us at the email addresses below.

Ken Varnum, Editor

Marisha Kelly, Assistant Editor