The University of Rochester's River Campus Libraries use a participatory design process to build and improve library spaces, services and technology. The following links take you to information about participatory design in academic libraries and higher education. The map shows where others are doing projects that build on this work. The bibliography includes a range of descriptive and theoretical work related to these projects.
Observed student behaviors in different locations throughout the library and the campus to improve library services.
American University of Cairo
Participatory design of library, American University of Cairo, Cairo, Egypt
American University of Central Asia
Participatory design of the library and curriculum design, American University of Central Asia, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
American University of Nigeria
Participatory design of American University of Nigeria Library (Yola, Nigeria)
American University of Paris
User research in the library of the American University of Paris, Paris, FranceContact: Michael Stoepel
American University of Sharjah
User research in the library of the American University of Sharjah, Sharjah, United Arab Ermirates
Arizona State University
Conducted observations in the Library.
Revamped the InfoCommons by collecting representations of an ideal space from staff and getting feedback on design alternatives from the community.
Brigham Young University
BYU undergraduate research projectA study of undergraduates done by undergraduates working with ananthropology faculty member and a librarian at Brigham Young University
Research on student use of discovery tools at BucknellContact: Andrew Asher
California State University, Fresno
The Library Study at Fresno State
Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg
User research during the design of learning spaces and library interfaces, e.g. web design and discovery system implementation. Contact: Kerstin Schoof
City University, New York
"Studying Students at City Tech and Brooklyn College"Contacts: Maura Smale and Mariana Regalado
Design workshops engaged students in designing their ideal workspace.
"Faculty Research and Teaching Practices"Contacts: Ellen L. Freeman, Instructional Technologist, Academic ITS and Marilyn R. Pukkila, Head of Instructional Services, Colby College Libraries
Colorado State University
Study of graduate student use of technology
Library Intervention Strategies for Doctoral Students in the Humanities: 2CUL study of grad students and how the library can help them attain the PhDContact: Damon Jaggers
Georgia State University
Ethnographic research used in the social media planning processContact: Sarah Steiner
Gustavus Adolphus College
A study by an undergraduate award winner of how undergraduates utilize space in academic libraries; see Zotero bibliographyContact: Julie Gilbert
Design workshop with undergraduate students to inform the renovation of a collaborative library study space.
Interviewed graduate students to learn about their research practices.
John Cabot University
Participatory design of library renovation and curriculum design, John Cabot University, Rome, Italy
Lebanese American University, Beirut Campus
Participatory design of Lebanese American University Library in Beirut, Lebanon
Lebanese American University, Byblos Campus
Participatory design of the library at Lebanese American University, Byblos, Lebanon
Interviewed faculty about how they use technology in teaching and the library for research.
Used various methods to learn about communication within the merged library and IT department.
Ethnographic study exploring undergraduates’ use of “24-hour” study spaces during overnight hours
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Mt. Holyoke College
Studied computer science faculty work practices to choose additional library resources for them and understand their needs.
Sakai Collaborative Project (March 2010)Fondren BRC project (2010)Small-scale study to inform the purchase of a Discovery Layer: To understand how Rice researchers discover the material that they actually use in their research, a research team consisting of Debra Kolah, Marcel LaFlamme, Jane Segal and Leah Krevit interviewed: 2 faculty members, 4 members of a nondepartmental academic program, 1 postdoc, and 5 research analysts. The team adopted the ethnographic research methodology developed by anthropologist Nancy Foster through her work at the University of Rochester. The team conducted 30-60 minute semi-structured interviews with informants, asking questions about the projects researchers were working on, how they discover the information they use, and how often they use OneSearch. The team worked under very tight time constraints: the research instrument was approved on April 5, 2011, the interviews were scheduled from April 18-28, transcription and coding took place from May 2-13, and the final report was submitted to the Fondren Library Resource Discovery Tools Working Group on May 18.
An internal software development project designed to capture local copies of born digital titles for local access and preservation, as well as capture work processes of selectors and acquisitions staff as they tried to accomplish the tasks needed to get this material.
State College of Florida
SCF Libraries Student Study – drawings of students’ “dream library” and moreContact: Tracy Elliott
Syracuse University's library has allocated a staff person to conduct user studies
The College at Brockport
Conducted observations of student travel patterns and engaged students in library design.
Tisch Web Team Ethnographic Research Study (see Tisch Web Team in AnthroLib Bibliography)
University of California, Los Angeles
How UCLA students establish, organize and manage their academic information ecologies in their dormitory roomsContact: Diane Mizrachi
University of California, Santa Barbara
University of Colorado
A student team works with faculty to interview other students about what they like and dislike about the current library.
University of Connecticut
Conducted the Assessment 360, a multi-instrument approach to how students interact with the library, and how they conduct research. LINK: “Assessment 360” www.clir.org/pubs/resources/Assessment360.pdf
University of Denver
Studied student work practices for library renovation; used workshop techniques to improve website.
University of Maine
See Gfeller et al. in AnthroLib bibliography
University of Miami
Used various methods to study faculty research needs and roll out a new library website.
University of Michigan
Improved library website and electronic reserves through studies of students and faculty.
University of Montana
Conducting a research project to better understand faculty research and publishing needs.
University of Nevada, Reno
Recent projects include: (1) building observations before and after a redesign of one area of the library; (2) interviews with faculty members about how they conduct their research; (3) web usability studies with students to improve the library website and discovery interface; (4) student-led focus groups to improve services and resources in the learning commons.
University of North Carolina, Charlotte
UNCC library staff anthropologist Donna Lanclos hosts a blog. Also see Wu and Lanclos, "Re-imagining the users' experience," Reference Services Review, 39(3):369-389.
University of North Texas
Studied doctoral students’ work practices.
University of Queensland
University of Richmond
The Ethnographic Working Group is made up of a few library staff, an anthropology professor, and anthropology undergraduate students.
University of Rochester, River Campus Libraries
Extensive participatory design projects in technology, facilities and service design; user research on students, faculty members and library staff; publications include Studying Students: The Undergraduate Research Project at the University of Rochester and Scholarly Practice, Participatory Design and the eXtensible Catalog
University of Southern Florida
Studies of campus spaceSee Beynan and Pettijohn in the AnthroLib bibliography
University of Washington
Used design workshop methods for website design.
University of Witwatersrand
Studied doctoral students’ work practices.
See Hobbs and Klare in AnthroLib Bibliography
Used participatory design activities to build new learning commons space with student input