In the recent Postgraduate Research Experience Survey (PRES), conducted between February and May 2017, 88% of you indicated satisfaction with provision of Library facilities. It is really useful for us to hear your comments about our services and resources, and your suggestions for improvements. We have been looking at the survey responses alongside the Student Barometer results and feedback from two recent focus groups exploring how Doctoral Researchers use Library services. We’d like to use this opportunity to talk about your comments and what we’re doing as a result.
Positive and negative comments were made about access to journals. Some researchers indicated a lack of access to specific journals to which we are already subscribed (Nature, APA journals). The easiest way to check if we have access to a journal is to use the Journal titles tab in Library search. Remember that if you are off-campus you won’t be able to navigate directly to journals and get access, you need to go via the Library webpages so that you can be authenticated. The Library provides access to 33,000 online journals but there will be journals to which we don’t subscribe.
If we don’t subscribe to a journal we are always happy to consider a subscription. We are currently looking at purchasing archives for some of our Nature titles. As journals are a recurrent cost, we do need to carefully evaluate all requests. To make a request visit the Library’s Research Support page. You can also use this page to request that the Library buy a book for your research too. If you need a specific journal article or book quickly, then requesting an inter-library loan will be the best option.
Print and online formats
In terms of formats, it is clear that some researchers prefer the accessibility and convenience of e-books while others are happier using print copies. This is something that affects many libraries. With growing numbers of students using the Library, and with limited shelf space for new stock, our purchasing policy does support a shift towards the provision of online materials. The Library does recognise that researchers may prefer different types of format, and we ensure that you are able to specify this preference when ordering an inter-library loan or requesting a book purchase. In response to feedback, we will be making a change to our online request form to make this function clearer.
The two focus group sessions gave us a lot to think about regarding the Library’s main search tool. We are working with developers to implement a series of improvements, and we will keep you up to date with changes. We are keen to continue making improvements that will benefit your experience of Library Search and we plan to run some user testing activities this summer. If you would like to be involved, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Student Barometer results indicate that some new doctoral researchers were not aware of Library induction sessions and tours; as a result, we plan to promote details of upcoming inductions and tours through our social media channels and the Doctoral School. Current researchers will be welcome to join these sessions. Follow @SussexLibrary on Twitter to hear about upcoming tours.
Research methods resources
There were a few comments in the survey and from the focus groups regarding the currency of our research methods books. This is something we are keen to explore and we have started reviewing this collection. We do provide access to Sage Research Methods Online, a regularly updated collection of research methods resources, and if you have any recommendations for additional books please let us know.
Working in the Library
We’re delighted to hear that so many people want to use the Hive, and we hope that the Library’s new policy on hot drinks improves your Library experience. The Library is also pleased to announce the opening of a family room on the first floor, a study space with a dedicated play area for small children.
Do get in touch if you have any questions or are struggling with Library issues – we are always happy to help and you can contact us at email@example.com.
The Library Research Support team