Supporting the value of information in your enterprise

FreePint BlogThinking about end users

Wednesday, 25th July 2012 Please login top-right to be able to star items

By Kelly McNamara


As manager for information services for Key Bank, Kelly McNamara has to manage the needs and expectations of a wide range of end users. She comments on recent products reviewed by FreePint and offers her perspective on the growing trend towards user-focused products and services.


I've been thinking a lot about users lately. Well, it's my job to think about users, but recently I've been talking about end users in a more formalised way. I contributed to a panel discussion about end users and how to get to know them better for a recent FreePint Webinar and also a joint SIIA/SLA forum for content buyers and sellers to talk about their common customer, the end user. When I review my notes from attendance at the SLA annual conference in Chicago, I see that many of the sessions I was interested in had some sort of "user" focus as well (including a continuation of that SIIA/SLA discussion).

The products reviewed by FreePint this month illustrate the broad definition of "end users".

Organisations without a central library or information centre ask their users to fish for themselves. Information professionals in these environments spend a lot of time teaching their audience to fish and look for tools that are easy to teach and learn. 

Organisations that provide information and research services to their employees, students or other stakeholders fish on behalf of their end users.  Although in both instances we're looking for high quality, authoritative information, the tools that deliver it look very and feel very different to one another.

Jan Knight reviewed iSell, a OneSource offering with a focus on locating and targeting the “right prospect at the right time". This pretty much defines what its intended end users (sales or marketing professionals looking to expand or provide better service to clients and prospects) do for a living.

With an intuitive interface that resembles the kind of consumer-oriented web sites most of us are familiar with, the end user requires little or no intervention from an information professional to navigate the resource and produce actionable results. The info pro's expertise is demonstrated when the decision to purchase the tool is made, not when the results are delivered.

The tool, not the person who chose it, has the most impact on the end user.

Scopus, reviewed by Yulia Aspinall, is clearly more appropriate for the kind of environment where information professionals provide mediated deliverables to a sophisticated audience of authors and researchers. The database provides a means to search, evaluate and organise information effectively - exactly what librarians and info pros do (in fact, what a great elevator speech!).

The interface is decidedly user friendly, but the availability of Boolean logic and other advanced searching features as well as sophisticated options to display and analyse results indicate that this is not a tool for amateurs. 

In this case, the info pro's impact is felt when the results are delivered. His or her ability to create searches that produce relevant results are more meaningful than the resource being used. In this case, the end user doesn't need to know anything about the tool in order to appreciate its power. 

End users are always the ultimate consumers of the information provided, whether they fish for themselves or information professionals fish for them. Whether buying content or selling it, what's important is understanding which tools best serve your end users' needs and how you can most effectively deliver the results they want.


About this item:

Click to visit the FreePint Blog Related FreePint Blog items:

Click to view all FreePint Subscription articles Related Subscription articles:

Item Topic Category:

View all Topic Categories »

Kelly is currently the Manager of Information Services for Key Bank's Corporate Bank division, where she meets the information needs of over 2,000 professionals daily. Previously she managed a team of five librarians in Key's Center for Strategic Information. This team provided customised information on companies, industries, and markets in order to help drive revenue, profitability, and shareholder value through research and information, analysis, and competitive and strategic intelligence.

Prior to joining Key, Kelly worked in the advertising industry, first as a producer of television and radio commercials for such clients as Goodyear, S.C. Johnson and Isuzu, and later as Manager of Information Resources at one of Cleveland's largest advertising agencies. In that position, she specialized in translating research results into actionable marketing and communications strategies for clients such as Philips Medical Systems and Cole Vision. Kelly attended the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and holds a Bachelor's degree in Public Relations from the University of Toledo and a Master's of Library Science from Kent State University. She is a native Clevelander.

More articles by Kelly McNamara »

« See all FreePint Blog items

FreePint Topics
Sources: Staying informed and aware
Technology: Improving information work with technology
Value: Maximising value for information work and investment
FreePint Newsletter

Keep up-to-date with the latest FreePint articles and tips by email twice a month.

Email address:

Newsletter 397
24th April 2014

FreePint NewsletterWe highlight details of our latest product reviews, webinars & consulting projects. Get involved with our Communities of Practice or consulting projects.

Register free »
Newsletter archive »

Have a FreePint Subscription?

"Yes, we subscribe"

Login to MyFreePint to access purchased content, be able to 'star' items, and to share items with your colleagues.

"No, not yet"

Find out more about the benefits of accessing all our premium articles, reports, webinars, communities of practice and consulting, through a FreePint Subscription

Keep up-to-date by signing up for the FreePint Newsletter.

"Don't know"

Contact us and we'll check if someone in your organisation has already purchased a subscription.

FreePint Subscription

A FreePint Subscription gives access to all FreePint content (articles, reports and webinars), Communities of Practice and consulting. Find out more.