Current Cites

April 2016

Edited by Roy Tennant

Contributors: Charles W. Bailey, Jr., Alison Cody, Peter Hirtle, Leo Robert Klein, Nancy Nyland

Bodó, Balázs. "In the Name of HumanityLimn  (6)(4 March 2016)( - Bodó, an economist and piracy researcher at the Institute for Information Law at the University of Amsterdam, looks at the idea of the universal library, open to all. For most of history, the idea was physically impossible. Today it is simply illegal, thanks to internet technology and the efforts of pirate groups (Sci-Hub) and social activists (Aaron Swartz). Building on the tradition of samizdat distribution (which is why Russia has become a welcome home to many pirate libraries) and distributed among millions of hard drives, pirate libraries have already become a de facto common heritage. The article appears in a special issue of Limn devoted to the idea of the "Total Archive," and many of the other articles are worth reading. - PH

Clark, Jason A.. "Anticipatory Design: Improving Search UX Using Query Analysis and Machine CuesWeave: Journal of Library User Experience  1(4)(2016)(;rgn=main). - Libraries have always tried to anticipate user needs, for example, by reviewing transactions at public service desks. Anticipating user needs in online interactions which are unmediated by library staff, such as catalog searching, requires new and different approaches. A review of what anticipatory design is concludes that: “[a]t times, it is a conversation and a mediation moment with similarities to the reference interview.” Search log analysis is one method to anticipate future needs based on past queries, and can be done without impinging on users’ privacy. Other “evidentiary residue” of searches can be analyzed with methods similar to those used by commercial search services. Contextual user data left behind in a search includes the user’s device, browser, platform, operating system, the referring URL, the time of the search, and the searcher’s time zone and location. The author provides examples of how this information could be used to add helpful suggestions and filters to search page results. Along with improving the search experience, concurrent goals consist of winning users' confidence while still maintaining searchers’ privacy. - NN

Conrada, Suzanna, and Nathasha  Alvarezb. "Conversations with Web Site Users: Using Focus Groups to Open Discussion and Improve User ExperienceJournal of Web Librarianship  (06 Apr 2016)( - The world of focus groups is here presented with the authors making the point that such methods are an indispensable complement to usability studies and other data-driven analytics. The authors held three sessions and the kind of input discussed will seem very familiar to those of us fortunate enough to work in public service. - LRK

Crawford, Walt. "Policy: Google Books: The Final Chapter?Cites & Insights: Crawford at Large   16(4)(2016): 6-13. ( - On April 18, 2016, the Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of the Authors Guild v. Google case, leaving in place the 2015 ruling by the United States Court of Appeals 2nd Circuit in favor of Google. Crawford reviews the final months of this prolonged copyright battle, including a selection of interesting articles about it. Crawford has written about the case in Cites & Insights: Crawford at Large before, the major articles being "Google Books: The Neverending Story? (2015)," It Was Never a Universal Library: Three Years of the Google Book Settlement (2012), and "Perspective: The Google Books Search Settlement (2009)." For more background, see the Google Books Bibliography, which covers the years 2004-2011. Also see the "Google Case Ends, but Copyright Fight Goes On." - CB

Crowe, Kathryn, and Agnes Kathy  Bradshaw. "Taking a Page from Retail: Secret Shopping for Academic LibrariesEvidence Based Library and Information Science  11(1)(2016): 40-56. ( - In this article, the authors summarize a mystery shopping assessment program that was adopted by the libraries at the University of North Carolina Greensboro, in part to delve more deeply into the results of a LibQual survey. Mystery shopping enabled them to focus more directly on the customer service experience, getting the end-user's impressions on specific interactions, rather than overall impressions. After running the program once, the libraries developed some additional policies and training materials for all staff, including students, to address the area in which they were rated the lowest - "going the extra mile." Staff running the program were very careful to frame the training not as a remedial session, but as a way for people to take their already good customer service skills and make them even better. A follow up mystery shopping program was conducted, and satisfaction ratings improved. The most important thing to keep in mind when implementing this type of program is employee buy-in - this program was carefully structured to make sure no one felt as though they were being singled out. Overall, the program provided the library staff with concrete evidence regarding the types of changes thatneeded to be made, a process in which staff worked together to make them, and the ability to see and celebrate improvements in customer satisfaction with library services. - AC

Klein, Martin, Peter  Broadwell, and Sharon E.  Farb, et. al."Comparing Published Scientific Journal Articles to Their Pre-print VersionsJoint Conference on Digital Libraries 2016  (18 April 2016)( - At last fall's CNI meeting, a group of researchers from UCLA gave a presentation with a knock-your-socks-off title: "How much does $1.7 billion buy you?" The formal version of their research has been accepted for presentation at the next JCDL conference, and it is still an eye-opener. They use a variety of different metrics to compare the full-text of published articles with the versions of those articles found in "The vast majority of final published papers," they discover, "are largely indistinguishable from their pre-print versions." More research needs to be done comparing publications in fields other than high-energy physics, but it does makes one question whether the value added by publishers is worth the $1.7 billion in serial subscriptions that libraries spend every year. - PH