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Website Usage 2002

Portia Usage Survey Summary of Results

A total of 335 online questionnaires were completed enhanced by 59 email submissions, a total of 394 submissions. This response was greater than we expected and perhaps indicates in itself that Library users are pleased with the current service level and are keen to assist in its improvement.

Overall, feedback was positive, with a number of suggestions for improvement. Some of these suggestions are viable and we would like to implement them. Other suggestions, although sound, are not technically feasible, although we should bear all of them in mind when looking for a new Content Management System for PORTIA.

Note: Some negative aspects could be improved by better help either on the web site, or by having tutorial sessions available to help those who are struggling to use the web site successfully.

Using the web from home was another area that was frequently commented on. Many students are part-time, who do research from home. We need to make it easier for students like this to have access to resources e.g. exam papers, digitised articles and other electronic resources.

DETAILED SURVEY RESPONSES

The majority of respondents (71%) were undergraduates, most of whom use Portia on a weekly basis.


GENERAL WEB SITE

STRUCTURE & NAVIGATION

Most people ranked the clarity of the structure 4/5, and the site navigation 4/5. This indicates that most users find the site easy to use & navigate. Comments include:

VISUAL ATTRACTIVENESS OF THE SITE

Most respondents gave the site design 3/5, then 4/5. Many of the comments suggested that users thought the site was a little plain, however, many people would prefer a simple, functional site with quick download times to flashy graphics.

RELEVANCE OF INFORMATION

Most respondents marked the information relevance4/5. One person commented that some journals which could be found on Portia, could not be found in the Library. Another commented that Portia was good because many books in the library are old/out of date, so PORTIA allows access to up to date information.

DESCRIBE ANY INFORMATION THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE, BUT ISN'T AVAILABLE

There were numerous comments in this section which have been grouped into categories.

Distance Learning
Distance learners would like to have more access to resources from off-campus, more help when having difficulty accessing resources and also the ability to register for Library services by email and not having to come directly to the library desk.

Exam Papers
Library users would like more exam papers available, the ability to access these from off-campus, the addition of postgraduate exam papers and possibly exam timetables.

Library Resources
As regards library resources, users would like to see 'new library titles listed'. To be able to see when searching for journal articles whether they are held in the library. A list of journals & papers the library has. Past dissertation papers or titles of research; old newspaper articles; more title details and a specific section on Journals/Papers.

General Website
In general, users would like to see more help on how to find journals, scientific papers etc in the library and also help on accessing electronic data/journals/CD-ROMS.

HELP SECTIONS

84% of respondents haven't used the Help section. This indicates that the site is fairly straightforward & users feel they don't need help to use the site. Of the people that used the help section, their responses were split. There were 3 main response groups, 2/5, 3/5, 4/5. This indicates that the help section is one that requires looking at and enhancing.

REASONS FOR USING PORTIA

The main reasons for using Portia were:

  1. To use the Library Catalogue
  2. To access electronic resources
  3. To access to practical information about the library
  4. To access past exam papers
  5. To renew / reserve books
  6. To use Borrower Info feature of Talis

The response to this question is really as expected, and should give us the go ahead to develop these popular areas.

OVERALL USEFULNESS OF PORTIA

Most respondents marked the site as either 4/5 or 5/5. This indicates that the site is thought of as useful and functional and users gain lots from using it. Comments indicate that many users use the PORTIA from home; also, it is used within the Library as an aid to finding required resources. One user commented that they 'would be stuck without it'. One user commented that it was slow when used from home.


SUBJECT DIRECTORY

NAME OF 'SUBJECT DIRECTORY' AS A TITLE

The majority of respondents (84%) thought that 'Subject Directory' was an adequate title for the section. There weren't really many suggestions and some comments indicated that some users may be a little confused as to exactly what the subject directory contains. One alternative suggestion was 'Electronic and Journal Article directory' another was 'course support'. One criticism of the subject directory was that it doesn't target subjects under course names.

HOW EASY IS IT TO FIND RESOURCES IN THE CURRENT SUBJECT DIRECTORY?

Most people marked this either 4/5 then 3/5. This indicates that resources are quite easy to find, but the system could be improved to make it more efficient. One criticism was that good resources are often available in a higher or different category and that perhaps could be linked to more subjects. One suggestion was that we should add 'computer engineering' into the 'engineering' category.

HOW CLEAR DO YOU FIND THE SUBJECT CATEGORIES?

Most people marked this 4/5 then 3/5. This indicated that on the whole, the subjects are acceptable, however, there could be some improvements to make resource retrieval easier. One comment was that the first page subjects were too broad and it was unclear which subjects were contained within each one. One suggestion was that the subjects may be easier to find if listed in alphabetical order. (We do have an alphabetical list, but we could make it more predominant).

HOW CLEAR DO YOU FIND THE RESOURCE TYPES?

Most people marked 3/5 then 4/5. There were only a few comments for this question. This perhaps indicates that people weren't sure what resource types were.

HOW USEFUL DO YOU FIND THE SEARCH FACILITY?

Most people marked 4/5 for this. This indicates that the search box is likely to be the usual way that resources are accessed. Some comments were that; the advanced search is more useful; excellent; it comes up with lots of irrelevant results; hard to find resources if certain keywords are not used.

HOW USEFUL DO YOU FIND THE BROWSE FACILITY?

Most people marked 3/5 then 4/5, so from these figures it would appear that browsing for resources is popular. There weren't many comments for this question, however, the browse structure is linked to the subject categories, and so we can surmise that by improving the subject categories, the browse structure will also be improved.

HOW OFTEN DO YOU USE THE ADVANCED SEARCH?

The results for this question were spread fairly evenly between 1 and 4, with 3% of users using the advanced search each time. One comment was 'I usually find what I want on the normal search'. Comments for advanced search included 'Specialist subject areas are easier to find' and 'I rarely find what I'm looking for when using a normal search'. The response to this question indicates that most people are happy with the standard search, however, though for more detailed & specialist searches, an advanced search is preferable.

DO YOU HAVE ANY COMMENTS ABOUT HOW THE SEARCH RESULTS ARE DISPLAYED?

This was a comments only question. 23 comments were received.

Samples of the comments are:

Some of these areas can be improved, however many are dependant on the technical capabilities of a future system.

ARE THERE ANY GENERAL FACTORS WHICH YOU THINK WOULD IMPROVE THE USEFULNESS OF PORTIA?

This question generated a lot of comments. Here is a general summary of these comments put into categories.

GENERAL WEB SITE

LIBRARY CATALOGUE

ROADS

SUBJECT SPECIFIC

DISTANCE LEARNERS

GENERAL LIBRARY

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