Leveraging student course enrollment data to infuse personalization in a library website

Ian Chan
2014 Library hi tech  
Purpose -The purpose of this paper is to describe the benefits of integrating personalization within a library web site and presents methodology for achieving this goal within an academic setting. Design/methodology/approach -The project documented in this study explores the use of student course enrollment data as the basis for creating a personalized library web site. Off-the-shelf, open source applications are used in conjunction with existing university data to deliver a final product that
more » ... ffers an enhanced user experience for the university community. Findings -Adaptive personalization is increasingly commonplace on the web. Academic libraries have a unique source of existing data that offers the potential of adding personalization to the library web site. At present, the personalization of library online services remains largely unexplored. This project illustrates one relatively low-cost method to help libraries interested in creating personalized web sites. Practical implications -This paper provides a guide for libraries interested in the implementation of personalization within their web sites. Originality/value -The project described in this case study is highly unique within libraries. The paper outlines the feasibility and technical requirements associated with using course enrollment data to add personalized content to a library web site. Participants in a 2011 study of a university library web site "perceived the usability of the [library's] website design to be challenging" (Kim, 2011) . Recommendations aimed at improving library web sites have increasingly called for libraries to take a user-centric approach in designing their sites. A 2008 article reviewing 111 Association of Research Libraries web sites found "the universe of information presented on academic library homepages still focuses on library functions, requires numerous pathways for access, has overwhelming options, and takes a 'one-design-for-all' approach that fails to recognize users as individuals." The author recommends libraries offer each user a "personal library space," based on that user's profile, to reduce information overload and present "library resources in a targeted and customized manner" (Liu, 2008) . Somerville and Brar (2009) suggest that academic libraries should re-design their web sites and online services from a user-centric rather than library-centric perspective. Studies of factors impacting the use of academic library web sites also point to a positive correlation between the perceived-ease-of-use (PEOU) of a site and the future intentions to use the site. Libraries that improve the PEOU of their sites are likely to increase the desire of students to use the library's web site (Heinrichs et al., 2007; Kim, 2010) . A study of user perceptions toward university library web sites recommends practitioners "design user-focused library websites that enhance the usability of [the university library website] and provide customized services to different user groups in order to increase usage" (Kim, 2011) .
doi:10.1108/lht-07-2013-0096 fatcat:xmrw7ijxmrb3lfmmoymjhlsrwu