Simmons.edu

Labs

Physical Spaces

Collaboratory

Opened in March 2014 and funded by gift from SLIS donor allowing for upscale, flexible, and modular furnishings, including chairs and tables on wheels. The Collaboratory has six iMacs, one wall-mounted TV with webcam/conferencing capabilities, two flatbed scanners, and a printing station. The Collaboratory is used by SLIS faculty seeking hands-on space for classes working on creating exhibits, collaborative group work, hands-on activities, and by SLIS student groups for meetings and events involving video conferencing needs and as a practice space for working on oral presentations.


Media Lab

Supports audio and video production for SLIS. There are drop-in hours for multimedia curriculum support as well as assistance with podcasting and oral history projects. SLIScast was funded by a PTRC grant and has recorded over 300 podcasts to date, released under the Creative Commons 2.5 license and transcribed for ADA compliance. They are available through iTunes Podcast Directory and iTunesU. Expanded to a fully functioning Media Lab in 2009. The Media Lab also records select course presentations and events. All recordings are available on the SLIS Technology YouTube channel.


Usability Lab

The Simmons Usability Lab, established in September 2008 at the School of Library and Information Science, centers its purpose on fostering collaborative research and experiential learning, and providing services to communities with usability needs. Located on the second floor of the Palace Road Building, the SLIS Usability Lab is an innovative, state-of-the-practice usability testing facility that offers faculty and students a testing environment to support user-centered curricula. In the Usability Lab, faculty and students conduct user behavior research, usability testing/evaluation, and eye tracking with specialized computer software, web interfaces, and information systems.

In addition to improving and enhancing the student research experience in SLIS courses that focus on user information seeking behavior and the principles of information systems design and evaluation, the Usability Lab gives SLIS faculty opportunities to develop new courses and initiate cross-discipline collaborative course offering with departments such as psychology, communication, education, and computer science. The Lab has also been used for testing, implementing, and extending new collaborative research efforts to information communities in the greater Boston Area.

The Director of the Usability Lab, Dr. Rong Tang, has been involved in multiple cross-institutional collaborative usability research projects including Harvard Catalyst, Brigham & Women's Hospital, Harvard Library Innovation Lab, Harvard/Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and EBSCO User Research. Tang is currently a consultant helping to establish the Harvard Library Usability Research Center.

For more information on the Usability Lab, including reservations for testing sessions or to receive training, please visit the Usability Lab.