Understanding user perceptions of online help to improve academic library website use

This study discussed the arrangement of library online help information and examined theories and methods for improving online help effectiveness. A brief historical background of online library systems was provided to both inform the reader and define the library website environment. Theories and methods for evaluating website effectiveness were presented, with an emphasis on improving factors of convenience and relevance of website information. The discussion then turned to help seeking behaviors of students in the academic setting, and examined the expectations and preferences for online help tools through the analysis of anonymous survey data. Student perception data for online help and library research services was compared to librarian perception data and website use statistics in order to identify alignment and misalignment of results. The study concludes with a summary of the finding and their alignment with the discussed theories and methods, and highlights the need for future research to examine user preferences for online help content to improve the effectiveness of library online help tools.