Objective – In order to inform a library service related to creating and maintaining online scholarly profiles, we sought to assess the knowledge base and needs of our academic communities. Participants were queried about use, issues, and attitudes toward scholarly profile and altmetric tools, as well as the role librarians could play in assisting with the curation of online reputation.
Methods – Semi-structured interviews with 18 scholar-practitioners and 5 graduate students from two mid-sized universities.
Results – While all participants had Googled themselves, few were strategic about their online scholarly identity. Participants affirmed the perception that altmetrics can be of value in helping to craft a story of the value of their research and its diverse outputs. When participants had prior knowledge of altmetrics tools, it tended to be very narrow and deep, and perhaps field-specific. Participants identified time as the major barrier to use of scholarly profile and altmetrics tools.
Conclusions – Librarians are well-placed to assist scholar-practitioners who wish to curate an online profile or use altmetrics tools. Areas of assistance include: personalized support, establishment of goals, orientation to specific tools, orientation to altmetrics and scholarly promotion landscape, preparing users for potential difficulties, discussing copyright implications, Open Access education, and guidance with packaging content for different venues and audiences.