Use of annual surveying to identify technology trends and improve service provision
Keywords:Mobile Technology, Surveys and Questionnaires, User Input
Objective: At an academic health sciences library serving a wide variety of disciplines, studying library users’ technology use provides necessary information on intersection points for library services. Administering a similar survey annually for five years generated a holistic view of users’ technology needs and preferences over time.
Methods: From 2012 to 2016, the University of Florida Health Science Center Library (HSCL) annually administered a sixteen-to-twenty question survey addressing health sciences users’ technology awareness and use and their interest in using technology to engage with the library and its services. The survey was distributed throughout the HSC via email invitation from liaison librarians to their colleges and departments and advertisement on the HSCL home page.
Results: Smartphone ownership among survey respondents was nearly universal, and a majority of respondents also owned a tablet. While respondents were likely to check library hours, use medical apps, and use library electronic resources from their mobile devices, they were unlikely to friend or follow the library on Facebook or Twitter or send a call number from the catalog. Respondents were more likely to have used EndNote than any other citation management tool, but over 50% of respondents had never used each tool or never heard of it.
Conclusions: Annual review of survey results has allowed librarians to identify users’ needs and interests, leading to incremental changes in services offered. Reviewing the aggregate data allowed strategic consideration of how technology impacts library interactions with users, with implications toward library marketing, training, and service development.
This article has been approved for the Medical Library Association’s Independent Reading Program.
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