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INF211/406 Research Skills Guide: Information services & User groups

Enhancing Information Services

To complete this assessment task, you need to choose an information service and write an essay exploring the way their services are provided and could be enhanced to improve user experience. 

Before you start, make sure you read the information in the Subject Outline carefully, and make sure you understand exactly what it's asking you to do. If you're confused, check in with your lecturer. 

It's a good idea to perform a topic analysis before starting your assessment. For a refresher, see the Topic Analysis page on the INF111 Research Skills Guide. ​You could also review the Find section in that guide, to learn about types of information and where to find them.

User groups

As part of this assessment, you will need to discuss the user experience of the clients that are using your chosen information service. You may find resources that talk specifically about your chosen information service, or you may need to look for resources that discuss typical user experience in your type of service or even user experience in information services in general. You may be considering the diversity of groups that typically access your service, as different demographics will usually have different needs and barriers. Also, you might be looking from the lens of the organisation, e.g., what the organisation is already doing, what the challenge is, and the impact of the challenge/change on the organisation.

Depending on the service you choose to investigate, some of your strategic searches could include keyword combinations like:

Public librar* AND user experience
student AND experience AND archiv*
Indigenous AND community AND archive
(immigrant OR refugee) AND public AND librar*
(elderly OR senior) AND "information sector" AND health
"language other than english" OR "non-english speaker"

You could also search for topics like user experience, user needs - don't forget to experiment with synonyms like client, patron or member.

If you're interested in more about the basics of service design and user experience, there are plenty of good resources out there for background information:

Library service design

Evidence-based practice is a cornerstone of library and information service design and provision. When making recommendations in your essays, make sure you find scholarly, reliable sources to back up your decisions and strengthen your argument.

Make sure you think carefully about how to find information. Service design and models are described in a number of different ways, so don't forget to search for synonyms and related terms for your keywords:

Service design and provision

Provision, delivery, support

Design, model, mode, type, structure

Customers, clients, patrons, users

Library service design vs Information service design

In addition to library-focused books, you might think about other disciplines, including general customer service design or user-centered design for websites. 

The resources below discuss user groups, service models, and other content you might find useful; this is just a sample of the resources available in the Library collection:

Professional journals

While it's important to use scholarly resources in your assessment tasks, professional or trade journals might be useful for this essay, as they are written by librarians, for librarians, and often discuss the experience of working directly with client groups. Trade journals are not usually considered scholarly, but can be highly valuable in certain contexts.

Some of the key professional journals in the library and information studies industry include:


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