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the plus side of the library

the plus side of the library


the plus side of the library

Executive Summary 1. Introduction: The University Library in the Knowledge Society 2. Inspect - Blueprint - Construct: A Three-Step Approach to Service Innovation 3. A New Kind of Research Support: UML+YOU – The plus side of your library

3.1 UML welcomes YOU

3.2 UML updates

3.3 UML encounters YOU

3.4 UML promotes YOU

4. Next Steps to Pursue

4.1 Ensuring internal buy-in

4.2 Further qualitative testing of the concept

4.3 An illustration

5. Conclusion


Executive Summary

After having focused on the modernization of its services to students in the last years, the UM (Universiteit Maastricht) Library now wants to shift its attention to its other

major University-based group of clients: researchers. In the 2010 annual employee

satisfaction survey, researchers have ranked the UM Library with a 7.4 on a scale from 1 to 10. Motivated to provide a 9+ experience, the Library asked the Service Science

Factory (SSF) to develop a service concept that would allow the Library to better meet the needs of the researchers and consequently generate an experience of delight

with the Library, resulting in a higher satisfaction score in the UM’s annual employee satisfaction survey. Hence, this service innovation project stemmed from the UM Li-

brary’s aspiration to improve the services it offers to an important customer group. The SSF formed an international and interdisciplinary team of eleven students and one

researcher to work on this challenge. The backgrounds of the team members included International Business, Social Sciences and Service Design.

By following the three-step approach (Inspect – Blueprint - Construct) to service in-

novation employed by the SSF, the UM Library team first embarked upon the Inspect

phase. Through a series of individual interviews and by conducting a focus group, we investigated the Library’s ecosystem and the daily activities and needs of university

researchers. After reviewing the ambitions and the constraints of the project, we de-

cided to focus our efforts on developing a faculty-overarching but personalized service concept that would be directly associated with the UM Library by its users and that

would make use of the Library’s existing resources and capabilities. Drawing on our

knowledge of the researchers’ needs and preferences, we investigated ways to meet

their needs in a way that would allow them to stay in their preferred workplaces while still offering them friendly and tailor-made research support.

In the Blueprint phase, when drafting the first service concepts, a great challenge

turned out to be not to overlap with existing services or future initiatives of other de-

partments or organizations (e.g. Marketing and Communication or the PhD Academy). Seeing that not only for us, but also for new researchers it can be a problem to find

their way in a somewhat complex network of different research support providers at UM, it came as a natural step in the Construct phase to develop a coherent service

concept which integrated the UM Library’s existing services and gave them a new personalized and service-oriented twist. The aim of our approach was to not only make

researchers aware of the available services, but also to establish the Library as a reliable, professional, and flexible partner in all research-related questions.

the plus side of the library


the plus side of the library

With “UML+YOU, the plus side of your library”, we propose a novel research support

service packaged to be offered by the UM Library. Starting even before the first day of work at UM, a researcher can expect the Library’s support at the various stages of his

or her work process – with no expense to his workflow and actually freeing up his time for the more substantial tasks. “UML+YOU” consists of four separate services.

(1) “UML welcomes YOU” gives new researchers a warm welcome into the UM re-

search community and provides them with information on the resources available to them at the UM Library.

(2) “UML updates YOU” is a widget on the computer desktops of the researchers

which provide them with the latest news on conferences, funds, and publications – tailor-made and focusing on their specific fields of interest.

(3) “UML encounters YOU” helps UM researchers solve their problems with software, graphic design, and data and literature search on demand. It does so through a web-

site featuring a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section, online tutorials, a support hotline and a live chat, as well as the possibility to make ad hoc appointments with specialists in these fields.

(4) “UML promotes YOU” increases the visibility of the work of UM researchers with

the help of the Researcher’s Wall – an online showcase of the latest selected publica-

tions by UM researchers and research projects carried out at UM. The Wall is linked to the UM Staff Directory, currently set up by the Marketing and Communications Department, featuring searchable individual profiles of all UM researchers.

As a final stage of the Construct phase, we tested our service concept by means of an online survey through which UM researchers were asked to give specific feedback on

the four features of “UML+YOU”. While the feedback was generally positive, many aspects of the service can still be adapted and expanded, especially since our respond-

ents could only evaluate a rough prototype of the proposed service. The improved and updated service prototype was presented to a live audience during the Service Science Café on the 1st of June 2011.


the plus side of the library

We encourage the UM Library to follow up on our work by taking the subsequent steps:

• Achieving clear internal understanding of the “UML+YOU” service concept and its

four distinct features, by bringing together the decision makers as well as the front-line employees ((i.e. the Library’s research support experts who should interact with the researchers)

• Setting up short- and long-term implementation priorities by evaluating the internal and external resources required to develop each of the four service features.

• Extensive qualitative testing of the service concept within and between all the UM faculties.

• Integrating the qualitative feedback received from researchers and launching a pilot

version of one or more of the features to ensure buy-in and allow further improvement.


the plus side of the library

1. Introduction: The University Library in the Knowledge Society

The advent of the knowledge society poses a challenge to university libraries around the world. While on the one hand it is possible to read whole books online (Google Books) and everyone has direct access to high quality information (Wikipedia), on

the other hand scientific knowledge has reached a complexity that makes it difficult to communicate to a non-academic audience. Public budget cuts and the financial crisis

have increased universities’ reliance on external funding and therefore enhanced their need for effective marketing. Finally, international competition for the best scholars

have led universities to consider their (future) researchers as precious clients which need to be approached with a service oriented attitude.

In response to these developments, university libraries around the world have decided

to offer more complex services in order to help researchers to respond to the demands of the knowledge society. Today the world’s leading libraries are not merely defined

through their online and offline collection of books and journals, but also through their support in finding the relevant information, providing the necessary software, and

developing knowledge skills. In other words, the conservation and provision of books and other media do remain a central but not their only task. Instead, other more cus-

tomized demands as for example professional editing services, technical support and

training for the adequate visual presentation of scientific findings, and effective promotion of researchers and their work towards external sponsors are now being catered for by university libraries and research support departments.

It is against this backdrop that the Library of Maastricht University (UM Library) decided to develop a coherent research support strategy. While the 2010 annual em-

ployee satisfaction survey (UM Medewerkerstevredenheid) indicates a general satis-

faction with the Library on the part of UM researchers , the Library wants to go beyond that. It formulated a clear ambition: to create a new research support service which is

embedded in the workflow of UM researchers and constitutes an experience of delight for the latter. In search for an innovative start, the UM Library approached the Service Science Factory (SSF) for an out-of-the-box service solution. In March 2011, SSF

embarked upon the “UM Library project”. An international and interdisciplinary team

of eleven students and one researcher worked the following nine weeks to generate an innovative but reality-proof service prototype which would meet the needs of UM

researchers and consequently help propel their satisfaction with the UM Library from the current 7.4 to a 9 or higher.


the plus side of the library

This managerial report is targeted at key decision makers within the UM Library (the

UM Library Taskforce), as well as at the UM Library Research Support Program members who will take the project further with its implementation. Its purpose is to explain

the process of developing the “UML+YOU” service package, elaborate on its features and propose some follow-up actions that should be considered.

Our proposed service package, “UML+YOU”, is intended to expose and intensify the

Library’s role in UM researchers’ work processes. Existing but dispersed services are located, complemented, and integrated into one overarching, more visible service

package that is comprehensible for researchers, especially those who just started

their career in one of the university’s departments. “UML+YOU” also involves a culture change: it strives to make visible and more accessible the Library’s knowledge not only in form of mere information supply, but in a service-oriented approach which stresses the faces and competences behind the information supplied.

Indeed, the service package “UML+YOU” promises an improvement of the research

work experience of UM researchers on at least two accounts. Firstly, it has the poten-

tial to lead to an enhanced quality of the research performance at Maastricht University by providing research support which is tailor-made, personal, and professional and

actually empowers researchers to better focus on their academic work. Secondly, this

in turn has the potential to enhance the University’s own reputation since as examples

from top universities around the world show, a Library offering strong research support is an essential component of a respected academic environment.

This report is structured as follows: Section 2 will introduce you to the three-step ser-

vice innovation process employed by the SSF project team. Section 3 will explain and illustrate the resulting service prototype “UML+YOU”. Section 4 contains suggestions how to follow-up on our work. The report closes with a conclusion.


2. Inspect - Blueprint - Construct: A Three-Step Approach to Service Innovation We followed the Inspect – Blueprint – Construct service innovation process employed by the Service Science Factory to bring our service proposal from an ideation to a

prototype phase. Since our initial problem statement simply indicated that the UM Li-

brary would like an appealing research supporting service concept that would increase the satisfaction of researchers with the Library (from a current score of 7 to a desired

score of 9+), we had a lot of exploration space available. Nonetheless we also had to operate within the major constraint that the new service concept should leverage the Library’s existing resources (i.e. the service should not require extensive investment outside the Library’s capabilities).

For clarification purposes, when referring to researchers of Maastricht University we take into consideration PhD Candidates, Post-Doctoral Researchers, as well as Assistant, Associate, and Full Professors at all six faculties and schools. Furthermore,

in the following we refer to new researchers as people who recently started working

for the University in any of the positions above, as well as to experienced researchers as people who have been working for the University in any of the positions above for some time already. Hence, the terms new and experienced do not refer to their aca-

demic research abilities, but strictly to the extent to which they have experienced and got used to the University and its facilities.

The Inspect Phase

We spent the Inspect phase of the project better understanding the complex service

ecosystem surrounding the UM Library, as well as getting insights into the daily activities of University researchers. The complexity of the ecosystem is to a very large

extent defined by the spatial dispersion of Maastricht University’s faculties and schools in and around the city. Hence from its two main locations (Inner City and Randwyck),

the UM Library has to cater to six different faculties, each with its distinct position and its own population of students and researchers, each of them with specific and sometimes unique requests from the Library. Most of the qualitative insights gathered, as

well as the discussion following refer to the Inner City Library, catering to the Faculty

of Arts and Social Sciences (FASOS), the School of Business and Economics (SBE),

the Faculty of Humanities and Sciences as well as the Faculty of Law. Employing the perspective of these faculties was strictly tactical in nature since given the reduced time span of our project these faculties were most accessible.

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the plus side of the library

Through a series of open interviews (two PhD candidates and two professor from

SBE, two professors and a research funding expert from FASOS and one PhD can-

didate from University College Maastricht), as well as a focus group discussion with researchers from different faculties (a professor and a PhD candidate from the Fac-

ulty of Humanities and Sciences, a professor from the Faculty of Law, a post-doctoral researcher and a junior lecturer from SBE) we established that indeed each faculty

has a personalized relationship with the Library, to a large extent dependent on the

faculty’s size and allocated resources. At least referring to the Inner City Library we

observed that it is not considered a researcher-friendly environment since it is most

of the time (over)populated with students and at the same time not always within the easy reach of researchers. Hence, our qualitative research showed that researchers

prefer to stay in their offices, within their departments, within their faculties and mostly use the online services offered by the Library (i.e. access to online journals and da-

tabases). Actually using the Library’s physical facilities is something that researchers

avoid unless specifically required (e.g. needing a copy of an older, printed journal that is not available online).

Moreover, we uncovered that there is quite a difference in how more experienced

researchers use the services of the Library as opposed to new researchers. While

researchers who have been with the University for some time have defined their own workflows and have become accustomed to using the Library’s services, the new re-

searchers need some time to set their workflows and adapt to the specificities of their

new research environment. Moreover, these workflows differ per faculty and discipline

which makes the requests researchers have of the Library quite heterogeneous. However, almost unanimously the researchers asked for more literature to be made avail-

able by the Library (i.e. access to more resources such as online journals or databas-

es). Nevertheless, while the more experienced researchers considered other services of the Library aside from provision of relevant content to be more or less redundant

in their already defined work cycles, the newer researchers were not always aware of all the services offered by the Library (e.g. research-focused skill trainings). Hence,

they would also have liked some introductory support. Finally, another insight that surfaced from our interviews and focus group was the fact that researchers are not really aware of what others in other faculties, or sometimes in other departments within the same faculty are working on. This aspect is specifically important since according to

the funding expert we interviewed, receiving funding for multi-disciplinary research is highly encouraged especially under the current economic conditions.

Aside from an overview of the complex service eco-system of UM, with the UM Library


the plus side of the library

at its center, our qualitative research also helped us to gain more insights into the daily activities of UM researchers. While differences are of course evident between facul-

ties, between departments and between individual researchers, we developed the fol-

lowing outline to have a coherent picture of the activities that constitute a researcher’s routine. Indeed, we identified four main activities which constitute the pillars of academic work for most researchers. For clarification purposes

• The finding, reading and data collection pillar refers to the process of searching for, synthesizing and making use of the literature or data required to conduct academic research;

• The writing and publishing pillar refers to the process of translating the results of

academic research into content that can be published (i.e. in the form of an article or book chapter);

• The tutoring pillar refers to the teaching (tutoring in the PBL system) obligations that researchers in most faculties have;

• The funding pillar refers to the efforts on behalf of researchers to improve the visibility of their academic work and pursue funding opportunities for future projects

Our qualitative research confirmed that researchers in most faculties adapt their workflows to some if not all these pillars depending on the stage in the academic lifecycle they are in (e.g. for researchers who just started their PhD, most activities would go under the finding, reading and data collection pillar as well as the tutoring pillar).


the plus side of the library

â‚Ź

Funders

Journal’s Database

Conference

External Contributors Supervisor Library

Department Colleagues

Ph.D.

Reading

Publishing

Collecting

Tutoring

Students

Researcher

Funding


the plus side of the library

The Blueprint phase

Given all the qualitative insights we gathered, once we entered the Blueprint phase of our project we were faced with the challenge of developing a service concept that on

the one side addressed the heterogeneity of expectations and requests that researchers have towards the UM Library and that on the other side leveraged (in the best

case scenario exclusively) the Library’s existing resources. When brainstorming for working concepts we had to keep in mind that the most important resources of the

UM Library are not necessarily its collections and databases, but its research support experts (or information specialists), more specifically the Library employees who can

respond to requests individually and with an inter-personal touch and therefore make a difference for researchers when using Library services. Moreover, we also consid-

ered the new researchers as an important target group since they need some time to

create or adapt their workflows to Maastricht University which constitutes a chance for

UM Library to step in with a great research support service as from the very beginning. After several creative brainstorming sessions a series of working concepts were de-

veloped (e.g. the start-up kit for new researchers, the online collaboration platform, the research project experts, the PhD society etc.) to tackle one or more of the four pillars as the sketches below illustrate.


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the plus side of the library

Nevertheless, it became clear in our Blueprint phase sessions that a series of tradeoffs had to be made:

• Developing a broad, faculty over-arching service concept versus developing a more focused, faculty-specific service concept

• Developing a service concept associated specifically with the UM Library as an

umbrella organization, versus developing a service concept empowered by the UM Library, but not necessarily directly or visibly associated with the UM Library

• Developing a service concept that leverages the UM Library’s existing resources

versus developing a service concept that requires considerable third-party expertise and expenses

A great challenge also came from ensuring that the service concept we proposed did not overlap with existing services or future initiatives of other departments (e.g. Mar-

keting and Communication) or other organizations affiliated to the University (e.g. PhD Academy), given the splintered research environment of the University. For example,

our initiative to build a central directory of all Maastricht University researchers, so as to have a coherent overview of all academic efforts across all faculties with the intent of fostering cross-disciplinary research had to be re-thought and adapted since we

found out through interviews that the Marketing and Communications department was already implementing a similar project. Hence, we later adapted this service idea in

one of the four features of our final service concept and integrated it with the existing parallel efforts of the Marketing and Communications department.

Close to entering the Construct phase, after reviewing the ambitions and the con-

straints of the project, we decided to focus our efforts on developing a faculty-over-

arching service concept that would be directly associated with the UM Library and that would make use of the Library’s existing resources and capabilities. The reasoning

for this decision stemmed from the consideration that before trying to develop a totally new and innovative service addressing the heterogeneous needs of researchers, the

UM Library should first of all clarify what is the existing range of services and facilities it can offer to researchers.


the plus side of the library

The Construct Phase

Consequently, what our Inspect and Blueprint stages revealed is that although spe-

cific needs of researchers from different faculties exist and could be addressed with

specific measures (e.g. technology enabled), such a course would involve consider-

able investment on the part of the Library (especially in resources it does not yet possess). Hence, since our goal was to improve the research environment and increase

the satisfaction of researchers without considerable new financial investment, it came as a natural step in the Construct phase to develop a coherent service concept that

overarches and integrates the UM Library’s existing services with the purpose of making researchers aware of them and bringing the Library closer to them in a direct and friendly way.

Hence, upon entering the final stage of our project, the “UML+YOU” service concept was decided upon, its features being described in the following section.


3. A New Kind of Research Support: UML+YOU – Our service innovation proposal entails four features, which all serve to make the life

of UM researchers easier and consequently free up their time for more essential tasks. Under the headline “UML+YOU, the plus side of your library”, a novel service pack-

age offered by the UM Library awaits the individual researcher. As from his first day of

work at UM, he can expect the Library to support him at the various stages of his work process – with no extra expense to his workflow. Via its different features, UML+YOU

offers research support which is on demand, tailor-made, and professional by primarily leveraging the existing resources of the Library (its employees and its existing online structures).

3.1 UML welcomes YOU

The aim is to give researchers a warm welcome into the UM research community and provide them with information on the resources and services available to them via the UM Library. This means the feature is mainly directed at researchers who are new to Maastricht University, such as new PhD candidates or transferring researchers.

There are several steps included in welcoming and introducing researchers to their work at UM and indicating to them where the Library comes into play. First of all,

before actually arriving at their new workplace the researchers will be contacted virtually, most likely by E-mail. They will be asked to provide their contact information and to fill out a profile page, which supports the promotion of researchers in collabora-

tion with the Marketing and Communication Department via the UM Staff Directory. Having done this, the researchers will be provided with detailed information about

the Library’s services and will be virtually introduced to the research support experts

available in the Library to answer questions and address research-related problems.

This first, virtual contact with the Library should help make the new researchers more comfortable before their arrival and should establish the UM Library as a proactive supporter of their academic work.

Next, upon arrival in their new workplaces the researchers also receive a physical

package that contains valuable recommendations on how to adjust to the new surroundings, as well as information on where the Library’s facilities are located and

contact cards of the research support experts within the UM Library. Additionally, the package includes an invitation to a “meet@UML” event. These events are intended

to encourage researchers to visit the physical space of the Library to meet the Library research support experts in person, as well as meet other new researchers and form

social support networks with the final goal of encouraging cross-disciplinary research. Such events could be organized in partnership with the PhD Academy.

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the plus side of the library


the plus side of the library

3.2 UML updates YOU

The second feature of the UML+YOU service package is provided via a widget on the desktop of the computer the researcher uses at his workplace. This widget provides the researcher with the latest news on conferences, funds, publications and other

themes he or she is specifically interested in. Nevertheless, the information provided via the widget is tailored to the personal interests of each researcher and can be re-

stricted to one or several fields of attention. This feature takes into account that many researchers are quite busy and do not always have the necessary time to search on

the Internet for news or do not want to go through the effort of checking websites and newsletter from which only a limited amount of information is relevant to them.

The “UML updates YOU� feature offers a unique service of searching, filtering and

sending the latest updates directly to the desktop where it is readily available at all

times. To facilitate this, before the first usage of this service the researcher needs to select from a variety of subjects and personalize their feeds. As soon as the data is

submitted the researcher is regularly updated on the selected topics in an intuitive and user-friendly way.


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the plus side of the library

3.3 UML encounters YOU

This third feature of the UML+YOU service package is provided by the Library to help researchers solve their problems with data and literature search, research supporting software, graphic design and other Library-relevant questions on demand. Researchers can find answers to their questions through the updated Library website which is

clearly structured and features a FAQ section and online tutorials, as well as a support hotline and a (video)chat option. This implies that researchers with a specific question can contact a particular research support expert in the Library because their field of

expertise is clearly listed on the updated website. Moreover, if the researcher attended the “meet@UML” introduction event (previously described in the “UML welcomes You” section) an initial contact with the research support expert has already been established. Aside from the online interaction, there is the possibility to make ad hoc appointments with the particular research support expert.

For a visual depiction of the website interface, please consult the mock-ups below:


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the plus side of the library


the plus side of the library

Currently, the Library already offers research focused trainings, as for instance to fa-

miliarize researchers with certain software (e.g. EndNote). However, this new feature

allows the Library to work closer with the researchers and answer more specific questions. Furthermore, it is more flexible both in terms of time and the complexity of the issue to be solved.

Next to the virtual interaction that is initiated through the website there should also be a place for a physical enCounter at the Library. Here, the researchers can personally meet the specialists that are listed on the website, possibly working better and faster

together through face-to-face interaction. This service clearly leverages the research

support experts available within the Library and brings them in the front line of interaction with the researchers.


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the plus side of the library

3.4 UML promotes YOU

The fourth feature of the UML+YOU service package aims to increases the visibility

of the work of UM scholars by means of the Researchers’ Wall a web extension of the existing Library Wall website. This website provides a showcase of the latest selected publications of UM researchers and research projects carried out at UM.

When searching online for research on a particular topic one might be very well directed to the UM Researchers’ Wall since this website provides up-to-date information on the work of UM’s researchers such as recent publications and upcoming events. For

those publications a short description and key words are provided as well as informa-

tion about the author. To be more precise, the researcher’s name provides a link to the researcher’s profile which was mentioned in the “UML welcomes YOU” section. This profile gives an overview of the researcher’s area of expertise and fields of interest, past publications, biographical information and contact information.

Furthermore, a search function enables visitors to easily filter the search results by

expertise, department or even a particular project or publication. Moreover, based on the individual interests and preferences of the researchers, content from the Re-

searchers’ Wall could be fed to the “UML updates” YOU feature described before. It is

hence crucial to ensure that the information is current and relevant so that the visibility

is enhanced. The Researchers’ Wall final purpose is to provide a clear and transparent view of the latest academic work being conducted within the different faculties so as

to encourage cross-disciplinary research and ensure better exposure of researchers outside the university.


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UML + You

4. Next Steps to Pursue

The “UML plus YOU” concept has been constructed with the intention of showing

the “plus side” of the UM Library and establishing it as a friendly and reliable support provider to UM researchers. The four services presented before under the header “UML+YOU” make up a coherent whole, but are also independent on their own.

Hence, the UM Library can choose to implement the concept as a whole, or just three, two, or only one of these features, depending on what the Library deems more important or easier to implement in the near, as well as in the distant future. To illustrate,

the first two features (“UML welcomes YOU” and “UML updates YOU”) require more external resources (e.g. producing the physical welcoming kits or technically developing the news feeds widget) and more external support (e.g. coordinating with the

Marketing and Communications Department or the PhD Academy) than the latter two features (“UML encounters YOU” and “UML promotes YOU”) which directly leverage the Library’s existing human and physical resources.

4.1. Ensuring internal buy-in

Before steps are taken towards implementation it is nevertheless crucial that the UM Library makes sure each feature and its implementation requirements are clear to

the members of the Taskforce as well as to the Research Support Program members who will take the project forward. Hence, a workshop involving UM Library key decision makers, as well as the UM Library employees whose tasks would change with

the implementation of the service package should be organized. Given their considerable experience with providing support to researchers, they could give important

feedback on approach, content, and implementation of “UML+YOU”. The UM Library is of course encouraged to modify and develop each feature by employing the re-

sources and capabilities it possesses, as long as the desired researcher experiences are maintained. Nevertheless, ensuring internal buy-in and making sure that the UM Library employees who will assume the role of information experts are comfortable

with and excited about their updated positions is a key success factor. The final goal

of this workshop would be to analyze the requirements for developing each of the four proposed service features and to prioritize implementation options given the Library’s

available resources and the resources the Library would have to outsource and taking short and long-term timespan into consideration. Once these UM Library managers

and key employees have a clear and shared understanding of what the implementa-

tion of UML+YOU necessitates, further feedback from the potential customers should be gathered.

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the plus side of the library

4.2 Further qualitative testing of the concept

The “UML+YOU� concept has been tested in the Construct phase of our project on a sample of 58 respondents from different UM faculties with positive reactions to each feature, as well as the concept as a whole. Our respondents received a link to an

online survey which invited them to watch four videos, each depicting the animated

storyboards for the four features of UML+YOU. Our online survey allowed us to take the pulse of the UM research community in regards to our proposed service and up-

date the features accordingly before our final presentation. However, more qualitative testing is required to refurbish the prototype.

Of course, the UM Library could further gather feedback on the proposed service

package from researchers by launching a larger scale repetition of the online survey.

To ensure a higher response rate, the UM Library could engage the various Research

Schools of the University as well as the Library Committees within each Faculty in dis-

seminating the survey and could offer a larger time span for UM researchers to fill it in. Especially since the prototype has been improved using the feedback from the original survey, this method has the potential of providing some new feedback especially from researchers in faculties poorly represented in the initial testing (e.g. the Faculty of

Health, Medicine and Life Sciences). Though relatively easy to implement and offering the possibility to gain feedback from a large number of potential customers, the

extended online survey should only be considered as a last resort method in further testing the service package.

Hence, to ensure high quality feedback and also show the UM Library’s dedication to

implementing this new service, the prototype should be presented to researchers from different faculties in face-to-face settings (e.g. by means of focus groups or interac-

tive presentations). One of the insights that surfaced was that though they found the general concept intriguing, some of the researchers who filled in our survey did not

completely understand each feature and its purpose. Hence, being able to offer realtime explanations in addition to the animated storyboards depicting the service and hence clarify any misunderstandings would greatly help with getting some valuable feedback from UM researchers.


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The prototype should be qualitatively tested within as well as between faculties,

because given the differences in workflows and research needs signalled in a previ-

ous section, it is expected that researchers in some faculties will resonate more with some of the four features rather than with others. Hence, the UM Library could in a

first phase schedule presentations to researchers within each faculty and afterwards invite researchers from different faculties to focus groups. Of course participants in

these two series of events should be different. The final purpose of these qualitative

sessions would be to establish which feature, or combinations of “UML+YOU” features do UM researchers find the most appealing and if there are any specific preferences per faculty.

Moreover, the UM Library should ensure a balance between new and more experi-

enced researchers attending the interactive presentations of the proposed service and the cross-faculties focus groups. The interviews in the Inspect phase of our project, as well as the insights from the online survey lead us to believe that researchers

who have been with the University for a longer time are more prone to reject the new

service (or some of its features) than new researchers. Nevertheless, even if negative their feedback is still important and their initial dismissal could be softened and even turned into buy-in once a pilot of the service or one of its features is launched.

The final purpose of these qualitative sessions would be to establish which feature,

or combinations of “UML+YOU” features do UM researchers find the most appealing

and why and to furthermore uncover if there are any specific preferences per faculty.

It would be interesting to compare the results of the extended qualitative research with the Library’s internal prioritization and based on the overlap decide which feature or combination of features to launch a pilot version of.

An illustration

Though it is premature at this moment to recommend the implementation of any one

feature without further qualitative research within and between faculties, the following serves as an example of the steps that could be taken:


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• The internal Library workshop sets the highest implementation priority to the UML encounters YOU feature since it best leverages the existing resources and has the highest interactivity level between the Library and researchers.

• Qualitative research by means of interactive presentations and focus groups within

and between faculties shows that the inner city faculties have a higher preference for the UML encounters YOU feature compared to the Randwyck faculties. Moreover,

researchers from the former group of faculties are willing to test the concept and give active feedback in it pilot stage.

• The Library sets an enCounter office within its inner city building and invites re-

searchers to test the UML encounters YOU feature by providing them the profiles of the available research support experts as well as their weekly availability.

• After three months, both the researchers and the research support experts are de-

briefed. If feedback is positive then larger scale roll-out is encouraged, thus integrating the UML encounters YOU feature within the Library’s website and actively communicating the official launch across the interested faculties. If feedback is negative then

adjustments could be made based on the feedback and an extra three months of pilot testing launched with a different set of researchers.

• Given the success / failure of the pilot focus on the next feature best overlapping the prioritization list of the Library and the preferences of the researchers. This step could of course be deployed in parallel with the pilot testing of the first option.

The above illustration presents a simplified representation of what the UM Library could do to decide upon and roll-out the implementation of a UML+YOU feature.


5. Conclusion

the plus side of the library

This managerial report has described a complex and dynamic service innovation project rolled out by the Service Science Factory for the Maastricht University Library with an integrated service prototype as the final deliverable. In addition to reading this report,

the animated storyboards accompanying it should be watched so as to receive the best

representation of the final deliverable. The process through which this service prototype has been developed has been described and recommendations on how the project

should be followed up have been elaborated on. In conclusion, the results of this project have set the stage for the UM Library in its efforts of becoming more service oriented and providing delightful service experiences to the University’s researchers.


the plus side of the library

Profile for Mauro Rego

UML+YOU Report  

Documentation of the project

UML+YOU Report  

Documentation of the project

Profile for mauroalex
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