UX in Academic Libraries: an Information Portal

User Experience (UX) Research Design in Academic Libraries: an Information Portal

This information portal, while not complete or exhaustive, is meant to be a starting place for librarians interested in learning about User Experience (UX) theories, methods, & applications, and design thinking approaches. It covers a wide variety of resources one might consider in starting their journey in learning about UX, including broad information sources as well as sources focused on academic libraries.

Sections of this info portal: 

  • Online resources
    • Ebooks
    • Databases
    • Journal publications/periodicals
    • Websites
  • Reference Works
  • LC call number ranges for browsing

Online Resources:

1. User experience (UX) design for libraries
Provides a broad overview of UX in libraries, from planning to implementation, metrics, marketing, and developing trends.
2. User experience in libraries : Applying ethnography and human-centered design
A collection of chapters from researchers in the field, this book provides information on all aspects of UX design from physical spaces, to utilizing data, pilot studies, and the social context of UX.
3. Successful User Experience: Strategies and Roadmaps
Provides tools and methodologies for creating a well-rounded UX strategy, as well as balancing resources against desired outcomes.
4. Elements of User Experience,The: User-Centered Design for the Web
Broken down into __ elements or ‘planes’ of Strategy, SCope, Structure, Skeleton, and Surface planes, this book also examines why UX matters.
5. Smart Things: Ubiquitous Computing User Experience Design
Presenting a problem solving process with a focus on methods, this book will remain useful in changing times, and is written for the computer science field.



1. Library Literature & Information Science Full Text (H.W. Wilson)
This database includes information on all aspects of the library profession, in all types of libraries, including user experience and research design methods in academic libraries.
  • Example keyword search: User Experience AND Research Design
    • Searching either term provides hundreds of results; when searching both search terms with the boolean operator AND provides a list of 26 relevant articles.
  • Example thesauri subject headings: Library user satisfaction; Library users
    • These can be added as search terms from the advanced search page, and limiting by subject with these headings to further limit results to relevant articles.
    • To find and search for other relevant subject headings, use the Thesaurus linked from the top of the search page.
  • General instructions: To help locate relevant results, utilize the advanced search page to limit by subject, as well as the Thesaurus to find subject headings used, and boolean operators.
2. Advanced Technologies & Aerospace Database
This database includes broad computer science related literature, where user experience concepts initially began being discussed as a dedicated topic.
  • Example keywords: User experience AND Library users
  • Example Thesauri subject headings: Library users; User services.
    • To use subject headings to limit results, enter as a search term in the advanced search page and choose subject.
  • General instructions: As a ProQuest database, predictive search terms can be utilized to help choose appropriate search terms. Use the thesaurus  by going to the advanced search page and selecting the Thesaurus, and searching for keyword terms to find the specific subject headings used by ProQuest. Using the advanced search, include subject terms found from the thesaurus to help limit results to relevant articles.

Journal Publications/Periodicals

1. Weave
An open access, peer reviewed journal, focused on UX concepts in libraries
2. Public services quarterly
Focuses on academic libraries, but covers a wide variety of topics related to public services, research design, and UX.
3. Journal of Electronic Resources Librarianship
Focused on usability of electronic resources, this journal includes articles on UX from the digital side.
4. Internet reference services quarterly
Focuses on reference services in the digital age, and has a public services focus, including UX service design.


1. Designing Better Libraries: Exploring the intersection of design, user experience and creativity for better libraries
This blog offers insights into recent UX trends, and has the tagline ‘Exploring the intersection of design, user experience and creativity for better libraries’
2. LibUX
With a Pinterest look & feel, this magazine-like blog combines articles, podcasts, and UX information in a visual way.
3. Design Thinking for Libraries
This website provides a toolkit to help guide libraries through implementing the design thinking approach, through the phases of inspiration, ideation, and iteration.
4. UX Mag
Taking a broader approach to UX, this website is not just focused on UX in libraries, and offers the perspective of designing for digital platforms.
5. UX in Libraries Resource List
Another information portal of sorts, this is also not exhaustive but provides access to more great resources on UX in libraries.


Reference Works

1. The whole library handbook 5 : Current data, professional advice, and curiosa about libraries and library services
Reference for librarians describing current issues facing all types of libraries, including UX topics.
2. Putting the user first : 30 strategies for transforming library services
Gives librarians interested in implementing user experience service design methods 30 hands-on strategies for getting started.
3. Useful, usable, desirable : Applying user experience design to your library
The authors review common ‘touch points’ that libraries have interactions with our user, and offer guidance for taking a UX approach, as well as provide an argument for the importance of assessing library services and offerings.
4. The UX Book
This book provides a structured framework from which to look at UX in libraries, but the authors also intend for readers to focus on, and use specific parts of the book that resonate with them.
5. Meeting the needs of student users in academic libraries : reaching across the great divide
This book takes a look at if common library practices are meeting the needs of users, and offers an argument for continued assessment of current practices, such as research services and learning commons, with a user centered approach.

LC Call number ranges for browsing

As a relatively new topic, most literature about UX in libraries is covered under the Library Science subject heading, however the concepts have roots and cross over into the computer science realm and information technology as well, but you might have to dig a little further in those heavily technical areas. Happy browsing!
    • QA75.5-76.95 Electronic computers & Computer science
      • QA76.75-76.765 Computer software
    • T58.5-58.64 Information technology
    • TK7800-8360 Electronics
    • TK7885-7895 Computer engineering & Computer hardware
    • Z665-718.8 Library science. Information science
      • Z679-680 Library buildings. Library architecture Including planning, space utilization, security, safety, lighting, etc.
      • Z668-669.7 Library education. Research
      • Z699-699.5 Machine methods of information and retrieval. Mechanized bibliographic control
      • Z711-711.95 Public services. Reference services (in Libraries)
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