Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

Bibliographic Management Tool Adoption and Use: A Qualitative Research Study Using the UTAUT Model

Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

Bibliographic Management Tool Adoption and Use: A Qualitative Research Study Using the UTAUT Model

Article excerpt

Workshops on bibliographic management software tools (e.g., EndNote, Zotero, and Mendeley) are common in academic libraries. This is the case at Oregon State University (OSU) Libraries, and although a wide range of research-skills workshops are offered at OSU Libraries, almost half of the total workshop attendees participate in the bibliographic manager tool workshops. Bibliographic management tools promise to make researchers' workflows more simple, sources more easily re-findable, and bibliographies simpler to create. During the sessions, workshop instructors witness participants' positive responses to the tools but must speculate about how participants use what they have learned after they leave the classroom and whether attendees feel the tools live up to their claims.

Some bibliographic management workshop attendees schedule follow-up research consultations with librarians, but many do not. Consequently, librarians leading these workshops typically resort to instruction informed by what makes the tools useful and usable for their own research process or based simply on the help guides provided by the bibliographic management tools themselves. This lack of systematic, in-depth examination of how other researchers choose and use bibliographic management tools results in an incomplete picture of researchers' potential bibliographic management tool uses and can hamper librarians' ability to provide well-rounded approaches to using the tools. Gaining insights from a wide range of users could help librarians leading bibliographic management tool workshops to more specifically guide researchers as they choose a tool that works best for them, to provide more meaningful examples, and to give more compelling reasons for why these tools may be useful.

The purpose of this study was to observe and explore how researchers choose bibliographic management tools, how they use the tools after they leave the workshop setting, and how they deal with problems that arise so that workshop instructors can provide improved instructional experiences. To examine how researchers adopt and actually use bibliographic management tools after attending a workshop, we devised an exploratory, qualitative study consisting of nonintrusive observations, participant responses to journal prompts, and interviews. Because bibliographic manager use has not been documented in this way before, this combination of observational methods was intended to uncover patterns in researcher adoption and use behaviors and to explore participants' attitudes toward these tools in a descriptive way so that OSU Libraries workshop instructors could make informed adjustments to workshop promotion and delivery methods. While the intention of this exploratory study was not to systematically compare bibliographic manager use by specific user populations or disciplines, the results provide a framework for considering new tool use that can assist other librarians who want to explore those questions in more depth.


Libraries' Approach to Bibliographic Managers

While bibliographic managers have been used for decades, the literature has primarily focused on discussions and comparisons of the features of these tools, especially as new offerings have emerged. For example, Jon Ritterbush provides an early description of Zotero's capabilities and specifically advertises this tool to a librarian audience as a way to promote Zotero to users; similarly, Holt Zaugg et al. provide a thorough description of Mendeley to a higher education audience. (1) Several librarians have undertaken in-depth comparisons of a range of bibliographic management tools' features to help users determine the best tools to match their workflow requirements. (2) Another common approach for discussing bibliographic management tools includes suggestions and best practices for instructing learners in their use. (3) Librarians have widely embraced the responsibility for instructing users in how to get the most out of these often complicated tools. …

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