January 27, 2022

Research Article: “Faculty Usage of Library Tools in a Learning Management System” (Preprint)

Note: infoDOCKET shares a few comments at the bottom of this post.

The following article was accepted for publication by College & Research Libraries (C&RL) last month. The anticipated publication date is September 2014.


“Faculty Usage of Library Tools in a Learning Management System”
27 pages, PDF.


Chris Leeder
Doctoral Candidate
School of Information
University of Michigan

Steven Lonn
Research Specialist
University of Michigan


College & Research Libraries Web Site


In order to better understand faculty attitudes and practices regarding usage of library-specific tools and roles in a university learning management system, log data for a period of three semesters was analyzed. Academic departments with highest rates of usage were identified, and faculty users and non-users within those departments were surveyed regarding their perceptions of and experience with the library tools. Librarians who use the tools were also surveyed to compare their perceptions of faculty tool and role use. While faculty survey respondents showed high levels of positive perceptions of librarians, they also exhibited low awareness of the library tools and little understanding of their use. Recommendations for encouraging wider adoption and effective usage are discussed.

Direct to Full Text Article/Preprint (27 pages; PDF)

Comment From infoDOCKET’s Editor, Gary Price

Once again we read in this preprint that potential users, in this case faculty member, have good things to say about librarians in general but have low awareness of tools and services that the librarians and their libraries make available to them.

As we’ve pointed out many times without constant and consistent marketing and promotion we will continue to hear this from users of all libraries (not only academic).

Some of this can be solved by doing more talking to users and potential users either one-on-one or in small groups with personalized examples of what’s available. In other words, Facebook, Twitter, Pinboard, blog posts, etc. can be very useful but they are no substitute for talking and interacting with people.

Today, users and potential users are bombarded 24/7/365 with URLs and articles about using the web but these articles rarely mention library and librarian services. When they do they’re often just a passing mention with most of the focus on Google and similar tools.

Finally, 21st century librarians need to realize that we all represent each other. Users often (if ever) use the same labels that we do amongst ourselves. A librarian is a librarian and a unified front could make a big difference. An example? Sure. Academic librarians all have family and friends that are (or potentially are) public library users. So, when chatting with these people why not talk about what 21st Century libraries offer and maybe even show them by leading them to their local library web site. Special librarians can do the same thing. The possibilities are many and varied. Bottom Line: We all need to promote and market libraries and not let our own labels stand in the way. The more talk the better.

I think the library world could learn a lot from Google not only about information retrieval but also about marketing, promotion, and brand creation.

I have been following and talking to Google since day one and of course they have many super brilliant engineers and developers. However, the brilliance of Google for me is as much about marketing and promotion as it is about information retrieval.

For the first decade or so Google spent very few dollars on traditional forms of marketing and promotion. Instead they focused on word-of-mouth and a lot of personalized hand holding of info gatekeepers to build their brand.

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.