Nevada Library Association Annual Conference - 2019; November 2-4, 2019

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Sunday, November 3 • 10:45am - 11:30am
Organizing for Us: Applying Usability Testing to Library Knowledge Management

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Librarians organize information every day with users’ needs in mind.  But what happens when the users are us, and the needed information is contained in staff-facing documentation with obscure file names, and folder directories that have long ago lost any clear structure?  With rapidly-changing job roles, library systems, and the inevitable staff turnover, explicit knowledge management has become essential to enabling an effective and efficient workplace. The Nevada State College Library has never had an explicit protocol for how we organize our documentation, nor any formal process for reviewing and updating it.  As of 2011, with just one full time employee, there were seemingly always more pressing needs than knowledge management.  But since that time, rapid staff growth and turnover, as well as multiple changes in library systems, functional priorities, and staff roles, resulted in a body of library documentation that had become increasingly complex, dispersed, and disorganized.   We realized that we needed a knowledge management plan that would not only organize our existing documentation, but also provide for its sustainable growth and maintenance.   We will focus this presentation on how we applied usability testing techniques to help organize the documentation on our network drive folders.  Before we began the project, our User Experience Librarian conducted an efficiency test, timing and observing each staff member as they attempted to locate each of six specific files or documents.  The results revealed the nature of some of the problems in our current practices.  We will show how a card sort and tree test, conducted after an inventory of the network folder directory, assisted in establishing the new organizational principles not only for the network directory, but also for our larger knowledge management plan. We will conclude with a section on how this file organization project fits into our knowledge management strategy, including why we are migrating certain documentation from the network drive to a cloud-based platform.

avatar for Kelly Lutz

Kelly Lutz

Systems Librarian, Nevada State College
Kelly Lutz is the Systems Librarian at Nevada State College in Henderson, NV.  Kelly holds a BA from the University of Notre Dame, an MA in Political Science from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Library and Information Science from San José State University.
avatar for Lauren Johnson

Lauren Johnson

User Experience Librarian, Nevada State University Library
Lauren Johnson is the User Experience Librarian at Nevada State University. She designs and conducts holistic assessments of library resources and services so the library can make evidence-based changes to better serve the University’s growing community. She holds a BA in English... Read More →

Sunday November 3, 2019 10:45am - 11:30am PST
River Rock Room