Student Snippets


Focus on EBSCO

On August 13th I was able to participate in a focus group for the new EBSCO mobile app! I really love workshopping, and this felt like that to the extreme. It was awesome to have a say in a product that I will get to reap the benefits from, as well as pass on to patrons, friends, and future researchers alike. 

This particular focus group was definitely saturated with library and information science students. I personally knew half of the group members, and recognized most of the others! Involvement in LIS definitely informed our reaction to the EBSCO mobile app. Most people in this section of the focus group entered with an understanding of EBSCO's products and an interest in user experience (at least enough to sign up for the study). It was great to hear the opinions of other library science students, but I would have also loved more input from people outside the field. Does the average Bostonian conducting research care about how many times a paper has been cited in other academic research? Would they agree that responsiveness in PDFs in absolutely essential? Do they want subject headings displayed prominently? 

It was fascinating to see what was a top priority for each of us when considering a mobile research app. I emphasized that a folder system for organizing articles was very important, which was echoed by many of my peers. We highlighted the importance of interoperability across devices, and discussed how to make the idea of a "guest" login more transparent in terms of what content they have access to. Many of us stated that saving and retrieving previously viewed articles was essential, but we vastly differed on how in depth we were comfortable going with our research on a mobile device. Some of us (me included) utilize our phones as a primary computing device while on a commute, while others were more likely to conduct a quick search and save content for later viewing on a laptop/desktop. 

Overall, I loved this experience! I felt the EBSCO employees were both attentive and responsive to our suggestions. They made sure to tell us not to hold any punches. I think we made some awesome progress on improving an app that was already pretty great! On top of all of the fun insight I gained talking to EBSCO employees, and the rush I got from the 'insider information' and influencing app edits, each participant also received an Amazon gift card! Don't tell EBSCO, but I would've done it for free! I can't wait to hunt down more focus groups, and test out the EBSCO app in real time when it launches next year!