November 19, 2006

2 Clicks 2 Stuff

I'm listening to Roy Tennant's keynote at the Access 2006 Library Conference. He's terrific, as usual, and what I'm really struck with is his suggestion (challenge?) that we get our users to "stuff" within 2 clicks.

A good example he gives is a Google search for the book Before Taliban. First link is the book online in full-text. When you click on that link (click count = 1), you are at the book's table of contents, from where you can see any of the book in full-text (click count = 2).

Two clicks to get to the full-text. How happy would that make your users?!

Compare this to ... oh, just about any search in any OPAC for either an e-book or a conventional print book. In my catalog, it's 2 clicks to find out that we own the item; this also gives us the call number, and several steps (literal) to actually get the book. Good for us! In another catalog I've known (but don’t yet love), it's 4 clicks to search and discover the call number. Plus more literal steps to actually find the book. And that's a book with a relatively unusual title that's in the 6 college catalogs I checked. It would be more clicks to find a book with a more common title (I dare you to find whether MHC owns the Economic Report of the President in print -- search their new catalog & see)

And then compare this to finding just about any full-text article from any library database. If you're lucky enough to a) do a good search and b) the database you're in has the full-text, you can probably do it in 2-3 clicks. But if you have to use a link resolver like SFX or Serials Solutions, it's going to take at least 2 extra clicks to get the full-text. This makes me want to enable direct linking from the SFX button directly to the article whenever we can. Might be a hard sell internally, but it's better for the user.

Download Roy's talk & listen! (there are lots of other good ones, too ..)

1 comment:

Paul Swartz said...

That's my biggest problem with SFX. I use it all the time with CiteULike (where I keep my Division III references), but it takes me forever to get to a page when I can find a call number, or get the full text of an article.