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How to name your library service with the words users use

To users, a library service is there to help accomplish a task, it’s to do something. That might be borrowing an item, looking up hours, or finding a study space. A library service is an activity a user takes to achieve their goals. It’s often an action.

To libraries, service names are chosen so that they can be easily identifiable. This helps with internal operations and communication. It also helps when instructors need to reference the name of the service. These names will often be an obscure noun or contain jargon.

These noun service names work okay when lead by an expert instructor, but it doesn’t work as well on the internet when users are unaided. We need to change our service names to use the words our users use. Otherwise we are excluding our users by not adapting to the web as a medium.

Good service names

  • use the words users use
  • are based on analytics and user research
  • describe a task, not a technology
  • don’t need to change when policy or technology changes
  • are verbs, not nouns
  • don’t include department or internal names
  • aren’t brand-driven or focused on marketing

Further reading

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