Apply SODA method ( create rich cognitive map) to the library case study already written by myself after interview with the client.
Assignment: A description of the problem scenario ( case study already done) and an
evaluation of the contribution that specific modelling approach ( SODA) could make:
1. Apply SODA method and create cognitive map
The library case study
This report contains a case study of the real problem of the London South Bank University library. The case study has been analysed through the application of Strategic Options Development and Analysis (SODA) framework.
2. Client Specification
Project scope statement
The project is about improving the online reading list completion rates to increase review fulfilment and to ensure that core materials are in place before the beginning of an academic year.
Introduction/Background to project:
LSBU has two library buildings – the Perry Library on Southwark Campus which holds items for all LSBU courses, and Havering Campus Library which holds items for health-related courses. For the purpose of this project the interview was carried out in the Perry Library.
The library implemented reading lists management software in 2014. The software called Talis Aspire is an online resource list management system where lecturers can create reading lists using simple drag and drop tools. Library linking, acquisitions alerting and resource location functions is designed to make it easy for learners to connect with the library and find what they want (http://www.elearning.capd.qmul.ac.uk/learning-applications/other-qmul-learning-applications/talis-aspire/).
The library offers trainings and open sessions twice a year to all members involved in reading lists review process. The library has produced various guides, practice manuals and FAQs which are available on the library web pages to help the current or new staff with Talis software. Moreover, the Reading Lists policy has been adopted by the LSBU to ensure a correct management of reading list materials and to ensure that the Library is able to meet student needs.
At least twice a year library approaches academic staff who teach on taught modules in departments and asks them to submit a copy of their reading list with the materials that they recommend to students. The library examines all lists submitted for review, handles purchasing requests for academic materials and then make submissions to LSBU approved book wholesalers for purchasing according to an agreed purchasing ratio (one book per 10 students and one e-book per module). The library can buy up to 15 books per module due to a limited budget however additional purchases are allowed with the approval of the respective Information Advisor of a school. The lists are reviewed on first come first serves basis. Academic staff who submits a copy of their reading lists in a good time have more chances to see the academic materials for students at the begging of each semester. The ideal dates for the latest submission of reading lists are: for modules running in the Autumn is begging of July and for modules running in the Spring is beginning of October. The reading lists set up by LSBU library automatically roll over for the new academic year.
The library is not aware of any changes made to readings lists in the Module Handbook therefore academic staff needs to make same changes to both handbooks and online reading list.
Although library intends to make the core items more accessible (by making lists of the materials available to students) and ensuring core materials are in place before the beginning of an academic year, responses to the request for lists are not sufficient. The lists submitted outside of agreed time cause a backlog of reviews and delays in purchase.
3. Project Objectives
• To find ways of improving communication between academics and library in order to increase online reading list completion rates
• To find ways to encourage academic staff to embed coherent and consistent use of the reading lists online platform
• To improve the efficiency of the acquisition process
The library has two sites –Perry Library on the Southwark campus and the Havering Campus Library. This geographical constraint can cause a communication issue.
The academic staff are constrained by time and workload. Insufficient training makes the engagement with online platform difficult. Other academic constrains are:
• The courses that academics teach are changing every semester, when new courses are added the guardianship of existing ones are given to others.
• Also the academic staff may leave the institutions and new staff may join to take their place.
The library constraint: The time taken for library staff to acquire new items can vary considerably depending on the module, type of materials or stock availability.
Budget constraint: purchasing ratio is not sufficient for modules with more than 100 students; increase in number of students every year.
Increasing cost of digital collections, high influx of journal licenses over core books, cost of library collection inflation cause issues to already inadequate budget.
The Strategic Option Development and Analysis (SODA) is a problem structuring method to deal with complex decision situations that involve several stakeholders with potentially different perceptions of the problem, different values and goals and possibly different interests (Friend, J., Hickling, A. (1997), Planning under Pressure:2nd edition, p 267). In order to use SODA method effectively the stakeholder’s analysis are required.
There is no value in having a Reading Lists online platform unless everyone is going to use it. It requires involvement from a number of stakeholders to achieve a success. The stakeholders are:
Internal stakeholders: academic librarians, acquisition team, library senior staff
External stakeholders: LSBU governing body, academic staff, students; technical team
Academic staff as the authors of the reading lists are of course the key to the success of the Reading Lists platform. Without having academics providing the lists student engagement in online reading list is not possible.
The library has a vested interest in online platform. The library overseeing the performance of reading lists, promotes and assists the training for reading lists, also makes the core materials more accessible to students.
Students are the consumers of reading lists so they are also important. They access reading lists to prepare for the assignments or if prompted by academics or librarians.
LSBU governing body, Dean or other influential person chairing meetings are also important, they can give the online platform a greater position and aid communication with those responsible for activities related to reviews.
Significant influence Some Influence Little Influence No Influence
Significant Importance LSBU governing body
Library senior staff
Some Importance Academic librarians
acquisition team Technical team
Table 2. Stakeholder management approach – how to interact with them
Interest low Interest high
Power high Keep satisfied
LSBU governing body
Academic staff Manage closely
Technical staff (working together to run online platform)
Library senior staff
Power low Monitor (minimum effort)
The one-hour interview produced a cognitive map with 80 concepts. Few concepts were missed during the interview however they were discovered and added during the review of recording. The full cognitive map is shown below.