Assessing effectiveness of communication and collaboration platforms at USMAI partner campuses

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The USMAI library consortium — originally formed to capitalize on cooperative resource sharing — provides partner institutions with a knowledge-sharing network and a pool of talented, insightful collaborators. By combining a range of perspectives, practices, and localized expertise, consortial partners have become better equipped to address the individual needs of their campus community while also gaining increased library domain knowledge through collaborative engagement and collegial correspondence. While acknowledging this noble mission, the authors of this proposal posed a question to the USMAI consortium: do the communication and collaboration platforms used among consortial partners help enhance this aim, or do they rather serve as a stumbling block to an otherwise motivated community of peers?

During the summer and fall of 2016, the project team conducted a series of surveys, meetings, and focus groups to determine the effectiveness of the variety of tools available to the consortium for communication and collaboration purposes, such as the USMAI web sites, web conferencing platforms (e.g., GoToMeeting), and the USMAICollaborates Google site. In this presentation, the project team will describe the motivating factors for this assessment, an overview of the planning and execution of our data collection activities, and a report of our findings on the user assessment of tool effectiveness and usability. The authors will also lay out a series of recommendations for enhanced platform development that have been submitted to the USMAI executive leadership and the Council of Library Directors.