StackMap’s “Explore” Provides Bookstore Experience


University College Dublin’s library is a large and complex system with five sites, making title searching a frustrating and time-consuming process. We talked with Samantha Drennan, Head of Library IT, about how StackMap and our Explore product have improved student interactions at the desk and simplified the search experience. 

Before StackMap, students were struggling to find materials and books on their own through just the catalog. We realized that the most-asked question at the desk was, “Where do I find this book?” In fact, we found that 25 percent of desk queries were directional. 

Students were also coming to the desk and asking, “Where do I find history?” or “Where do I find geography?” We’d hand them a map and give them a lot of information and then they’d come back and say, “Oh, and where’s this other book?” So, that’s when Explore came on our radar, and we asked StackMap to help us solve this problem. 

Explore is a StackMap module that enables users to browse your library’s physical space and resources on a kiosk, tablet or website. It is useful for locating sections of the collection by subject as well as for locating any place, space, or room within the library.

We didn’t want to take engagement away from the desk but we wanted to enhance students’ experience when they went to the desk. Now, we’ll be talking with a student and we’ll say, “Oh you’re studying history or studying medicine? Have a look at Explore where there’s a whole section related to that subject.” Then they’ll walk away with their mobile device and be able to investigate it further. Explore gives students a bookstore experience. If you don’t know the title but have a bit of an idea of what you want, Explore makes it easier to try to find what you might need. 

With StackMap, staff are seeing a positive experience when they’re interacting with the students. One of the Tweets we got when we first launched StackMap in September 2018 was “UCD Library now has Google Maps for books.” It’s probably the best idea I’ve ever seen. After the first month of StackMap, we noticed a 45 percent reduction in queries related to finding books. 

-Samantha Drennan, Head of Library IT at University College Dublin Library