Boston College Libraries Faculty Newsletter


FALL 2008

Library Assessment Update

The Libraries continue to assess the quality and nature of space, services and technology offerings. Here is a brief summary of the some of the areas into which we have delved. As always, we encourage and welcome feedback and your thoughts and suggestions on improvements to the Library.


Holmes One Search: usability testing in the summer led to some design and functionality changes in this new discovery and delivery tool. A fall upgrade from the vendor addressed other areas of concern. Library staff will continue working to improve this discovery and delivery tool. As you can tell from the staff activities, Boston College Libraries are actively engaged with many vendors on database content and interfaces.


New books in the collection: faculty and users have expressed interest in an easy way to be aware of new books in the collections. You now have the option to subscribe to an RSS feed by discipline. This is a feature targeted for future enhancement and development, especially for users to self-define subject areas they wish to know about. See the Using RSS page for more details and background about RSS feeds.


Research Guides: Library staff continues to use the LibGuides platform to develop and enhance guides to research. Our internal quality control process has been improved and we continue to work closely with the vendor on future enhancements.


RefWorks: a more seamless method (fewer clicks) of importing citations from the Quest Library Catalog was introduced. Access and sign-in to RefWorks from off-campus was has also been improved.


Agora portal: the Library recommended changes to the Library “portlet” options.


2.0 social networking and tutorials: Library task forces are investigating the optimal ways to deliver tutorials and how to take advantage of the multiple 2.0 social networking tools for our own learning and to network more effectively with the Boston College community.

Space use:

  • A long standing service need in the library was addressed this summer with the creation of a full equipped (28 student workstations) room for Library instruction sessions. This will allow for more flexibility in scheduling sessions and also provide opportunities for more active learning initiatives in the instruction session. Check with your subject specialist about scheduling a library instruction session for your class in the spring semester
  • As we await a renovation to O’Neill Library, we continue to make incremental changes to the space. The Library instruction space is one example of this (re-using existing staff space for other purposes). Another example is the work over the summer to relocate little used print index and abstracting titles to Level 1 of the O’Neill Library. The subsequent removal of the shelving from the reference room created more user space, removed some barriers to the natural light, and created a more inviting environment.
  • In the Spring, look for the newly configured Data/GIS/Business computer cluster in the O’Neill reference space.  The proximity of these workstations reflects the interdisciplinary nature of these resources.  
  • In response to a request from students, the reference area has a kiosk with the current day’s issue of several major newspapers and a selection of popular magazines.
  • At the end of the spring 2008 semester (Senior Week) and the start of the fall 2008 semester (Orientation Week) the Library with ITS and a number of student groups and University offices to sponsor the very successful “Rock the Library” Gaming Nights.  On election night the Library worked again with students and faculty to sponsor a panel discussion on issues in the presidential campaign and opened the O’Neill reserves reading room for large screen viewing of the election returns.
  • Along with improved reading and printing options for microforms in the O’Neill Library, the room previously housing readers is now a more comfortable study space. Some future plans include displaying student art in this area.

Questions, comments? Contact the BC Libraries Newsletter Review Board.
Subscribe to the Boston College Libraries Newsletter