User Survey Update

First, I have to give a big THANK YOU to everyone who participated in the recent user surveys for BHL. I really appreciate everyone’s willingness to tell us more about your experience using the site. This feedback will be incredibly useful for BHL as they look to move to their next version.

For my project, I categorized BHL users into three groups as I described in my earlier blog post including Consortium Users, System Users, and Individual Users and created a customized survey targeted to each user group. I used the SurveyMonkey platform for all of the surveys, and they were each live for three weeks.

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Getting to Know the BHL Users

For my NDSR project at Smithsonian Libraries, I’ll be gathering feedback from the users of BHL to help inform the next version of the digital library. I’ve had the opportunity to meet with several partners of BHL and sit in on BHL Member, Collection, and Tech Team meetings. Through these interactions, I’ve been able to identify three main groups to solicit feedback from for my research: (1) Consortium Users; (2) System Users; and (3) Individual Users.

1. Consortium Users:  A contributor to BHL including Members, Affiliates, Partners, staff, and volunteers

2. System Users:  Organizations or individuals who interact with BHL for the purpose of enriching another system via APIs (Application Programming Interface) or manually

3. Individual Users:  Anyone visiting the BHL website to search for information to answer their research needs such as, scientists, collection managers, librarians, etc.

Consortium Users

As a consortium of natural history and botanical libraries BHL is made up of Members and Affiliates. Each of these consortium users are committed to the mission, vision, and key values of BHL centered around free and open access to biodiversity literature.

Example of digitized content found in BHL. Catesby, Mark. The Natural History of Carolina, Florida, and the Bahama Islands. v. 1, ed. 1. pl. 16. Digitized by Smithsonian Libraries.

Staff at these partner institutions participate in various ways including scanning their biodiversity resources to be added to the BHL content and taking part in BHL working groups and committees as needed. As I’ve sat in on the meetings for some of these committees, I’ve been able to learn more about the BHL Members and Affiliates and their needs. The majority of these members are museums or libraries serving their own users as well. Members are looking for ways to streamline the process for digitizing their materials into BHL and promoting and accessing their content through BHL.

Another important group are volunteers including volunteers through Member institutions or with BHL as a whole. They assist with scanning and uploading content, managing social media, tagging illustrations with taxon names, and participating in crowdsourced transcription efforts, among other activities. These endeavors increase the visibility of and enhance the content in BHL. Check out a couple of BHL’s most active volunteers on social media – Siobhan Leachman and Michelle Marshall and her Historical SciArt.

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