Re-shaping library instructions: Enter Doctor Zotero

This is a story about how to re-shape your library instruction offer a bit in order to meet new demands. It’s not rocket science, I bet many does it, but it works wonders and therefore I want to share it.

For about 3 years we have been giving instructions to Zotero at The Faculty Library of Social Sciences, Copenhagen University Library. We have mainly been targeting students but after a year or two faculty members has also begun to request sessions on Zotero. We also offers instructions on EndNote and RefMan but Zotero has been far the most successful offer measured in interested and the counting of heads showing up to instructions.

In the beginning things were kind of slow on our new Zotero instruction offer. We put it out as a general introduction for everybody, did the regular marketing and communication but nobody really came to the sessions. We keept on putting out the offer, prasing references management tools and along with digital tools in social sciences (and all other sciences) has been on the rise and academia in general has connected with the new opportunities the picture has changed: We can’t seem to put out enough instructions on Zotero.

But this success left us with a problem: Every time our information specialist has done a session on Zotero there would be at least 6 – 7 request in the days after the sessions from attending students who had a question regarding the use of Zotero. These requests came in via email to the information specialists who gave the instruction and it’s kind of hard to answer those in a satisfactory way. Everyone who deals with digital tool of any sought knows, that in the end, it only makes sense to sit down in front of the program and go over whatever may be the issue. But we really wanted to meet the demand of follow-up questions so we invested a lot of time making appointment with students to go over there Zotero-questions. That is a very good service but it’s also a very expensive service; often the students or information specialist needed to reschedule the appointment and a lot of time was wasted in Outlook instead of on Zotero.

So we thought a bit about that and the answers to the issue was Doctor Zotero.

Reference trouble? Go see Doctor Zotero (on the picture the man with the idea: digital tool wizard Marc Sales)

Doctor Zotero is a session concept which offers consultation on Zotero related questions two times a week on fixed times at the library. No booking needed, just stop by, there might be a queue but it will soon be your turn. When ever we have an instructions on Zotero these days, Doctor Zotero is brought up in the end as the touchpoint for further instruction and support. And the impact has been massive: Last term 72 students went to see Doctor Zotero (which is high amount compared to how many we take in on the regular instructions), they got an excellent support and at the same time we are saving administration time on setting up appointment with a lot of students.

The regular extra bonus: talking with students about a specific need always give opportunities to add some extra value from the library boutique.

Doctor Zotero is a simple concept. If you find yourself struggling with admin time-consuming user appointment I’ll recommend you try it out in some form – and not only on Zotero. Doctor Political Science and Doctor Sociology is also in the library these days.




Run Librarian, Run: Cooper for Libraries 2015 #cooper4libs

Inspired by the great library advocacy project Cycling for Libraries The Library Lab brings you Cooper for Libraries the 2015 edition.

Cooper for Libraries is an yearly running event were librarians and library lovers across the world run the famous Cooper Test in order to advocate for the importance of libraries in both public society and academic institutions and to build physical and mental well-being of people in the library and life-long learning community.

The Cooper Test was invented in 1968 by Kenneth H. Cooper for U.S. Military use. The test itself is simple: Run as long as you can in 12 minutes. It’s a great test were you get to train and improve on both stamina and speed – valuable assets in the modern learning society.

Endomondo could be used for tracking and that’s were you find the #cooper4libs 2015 challenge but other running app’s a just a old fashion running watch is more than welcome.

The first Cooper for Libraries event will take place in June. You can track ass many runs as you like – the more the better. This is not about winning but best Cooper will for sure win a bottle of bubbles (and worldwide fame for sure).

Show the world some running library love with Twitter hashtag #cooper4libs

Let’s show the world how great and important libraries are – and that librarian can run like the wind.

Happy running librarians from Copenhagen University Library