Jason Griffey (back in September 2009) advised three strategies for researching library tech decisions. If/when I get a turn at bat, will these ideas be useful to me?
- Listen to patrons (ie pay attention to the technologies they are using).
At a combined University/TAFE library, we hear and see that patron technology use is extremely diverse. We have the spectrum from both higher ed and TAFE students who have never used a computer or mobile phone, through to the highly technology savvy. It is to detect the former as they're asking for help.
But how do we "pay attention" to the technologies the savvy are using, without spying?
Random chance observations in passing to open/close curtains or provide assistance is surely not reliable as representative data? Perhaps it could be more so if observations could be accumulated from all library staff who pass through the computer commons - but that would require those staff to be able to recognise the variety of web2.0 services that might be used, else the observation data will be skewed.
Is it possible or appropriate for tech services to tally which internet services are most popular, or is this something that ought to be asked instead?
I also wonder whether there is an association between extent and type of technology use and the student's (or teacher's) course?
- Find out which technologies are most popular in general public.
Or, at the TAFE, continuing the theme from above: At the same time there may be a difference between courses as to which technologies would be most relevant both during the course and later vocationally. Effective subject liaison may be useful to determine this, and not just with teachers as some students are in advance of teaching staff in uptake of both socially and industry relevant technologies.
- Try radical ideas and winnow the ones that fail.
Sure, this could be useful at the very least for librarians' professional development, although in a TAFE/Higher Ed context I'm guessing that it might be useful to first target the radical ideas which are being tested (if any) by technologically radical teachers, associates or technology personnel.