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Stony Brook University

Progress Update 2016 - Stony Brook University Library Strategic Design 2015 - 2018, Research & Emerging Technologies


The Stony Brook University Libraries Research & Emerging Technologies department supports the mission of the library by providing reference and research support for the community through assessment and emerging technologies. The team brings principles of research and a spirit of inquiry to internal and external initiatives to deliver excellent assistance, technology, and spaces to students, staff, and faculty members. The Research & Emerging Technologies department actively seeks out new technology tools and works to apply them across the libraries for the benefit of staff, students, and other university stakeholders.


The Research & Emerging Technologies department will help improve reference services through a cycle of innovation, experimentation, and assessment. We will introduce new technologies to the library to help support the research and study goals of our staff and the university community and work to integrate these technologies through training and continuing support. We will work to aggregate and standardize data streams from across the library to facilitate our library learning goals and improve services.

Guiding Principles with Goals

Promote Academic Engagement​

Develop New Technologies as a Platform for Learning

  • Seek out and trial new technologies that will help our community conduct more effective research and study.

  • Partner with individuals and groups internal and external to the library to generate ideas for new technologies and library projects.

  • Help identify technology gaps in current library offerings by examining specific projects and use cases presented by faculty and students.

    • 2016: conducted a trial of LibInsight and Tableau for better representation of reference statistics, worked with scholarly communications to liaise with faculty interested in digital humanities projects


Promote Research Services

  • Work to develop reference collections and resources for effectively answering reference queries.

  • Ensure that the technology used to facilitate online reference is up to date and functioning properly.

  • Manage digital reference tools on the LibApps platform.

    • 2016: Streamlined WRT 102 guides, increased chat reference service, worked with Access Services to increase stats keeping at the desk, created a shared document for defining reference stats fields, Promoted good statistics keeping as a method for providing better service to users

Build, Preserve, and Provide Access to Rich and Diverse Collections

Assess Collections

  • Assess and weed the reference and microforms collections in the Central Reading Room to minimize duplication and maximize study space.

  • Work towards digital resources that will ensure continuous access to essential reference collection materials from both on and off campus.

    • 2016: Created weeding lists for reference, ready ref, and business collection, weeded indexes and abstracts, added new volumes to ready ref for inclusion in the new North Reading Room, Assessed Safari Technical Books collection and replaced zero use titles with the most frequently used titles in the general collection


Enhance Access to Online Resources

  • Promote digital reference materials as a resource for the community.

  • Work, through training and standardization, to ensure that that issues with electronic resources are properly recognized and reported.


Embrace New Technologies

  • Integrate and assess new technologies for research and study.

  • Work with individuals and groups to ensure that current technologies meet their needs and generate ideas for future directions.

  • Help spread and encourage the use of new technologies through teaching and training.

    • 2016: Conducted a WordPress workshop for library faculty, proposed Density as a solution for people counters, worked to promote library renovation and share information in real time through the library website, investigated new technologies for library assessment including Tableau and LibInsight, started and maintained a weekly Tech Spotlight blog detailing emerging technologies in teaching and learning

Develop Responsive Library Spaces for Diverse Communities

Assess Current Statistics

  • Look into LibApps and door count statistics to ensure that the reference desk in the Central Reading Room is staffed with a librarian during high traffic hours.

  • Propose data-driven changes and updates to the Central Reading Room and other library spaces. (Fall 2015)

  • Conduct an observational study of space use in the Central Reading Room (Fall 2015)

    • 2016: Conducted an observational study of space use in NRR and CRR, will compare usage to use of the new spaces, analyzed statistics to create reference schedules at the desk, proposed real time solutions in people counters, served as co-chair of the Data Policy Working group experimenting with holistic data gathering, created a liaison and instruction form for capturing research group work statistics


Engage the Community

  • Work with individuals and groups internally and externally to conduct space use surveys. (Spring 2016)

  • Gather use cases from the community to propose new types of space and new technologies in the library.

    • 2016: Created a survey to get feedback about new furniture pieces, helped design library renovation spaces designed to accommodate new technologies and teaching styles, participated in a student feedback group for library renovation planning, led a tour of student journalists through the NRR construction site 


Investigate New Services

  • Conduct surveys and assessment of available data to investigate other library areas for potential reference service points.

  • Introduce new technology spaces and partner with the Library Technology Department to assess how these spaces are being used and how we can improve them.

    • 2016: Worked to help design new technology-focused collaboration and learning spaces as part of the renovation

Foster an Innovative Culture of Learning and Assessment

Assess Technology Use

  • Use current statistics to assess use of technology by patrons and among staff.

  • Work with the community to generate predictive use cases that can help ensure that library spaces reflect current trends and future directions for service.

  • Analyze search queries to identify subjects for future LibGuides

    • 2016: Used Google Analytics data to help determine chat and desk hours, worked with library design team to create flexible spaces in the renovated reading rooms that would be able to accommodate current and future technology and use


Standardize Best Practices for Data Collection

  • Ensure that best practices are observed for data recording during reference and standardize data recording at the reference desk through training.

  • Expand the scope of data collection and aggregate data collected by several departments to draw conclusions about reference space and time allocation across the libraries.

    • 2016: Trained all new hires on LibApps usage, worked with the library reference team to standardize definitions of Ref Analytics questions for more consistent reporting