You will need

online and offline sources


1–2 hours


1 or more colleagues (depending on the scope of the topic)


1 – depends on the extent and type of the topic

Use when...

  • you are at the beginning and wonder what should the next steps be
  • you want to find out how they tackled a similar or the same problem in another library
  • you are looking for prospective partners or someone you can ask for advice

Do not use when...

  • you need to get to know your own “field”


  1. Your research should not be too broad – specify the problem in the very beginning.
  2. Research articles on the Web. Search in the professional databases, too.
  3. Examine the data – number of people affected by the problem and previous research about them.
  4. Look for the alternative solutions to your problem. Find out who is the best in tackling your problem. Do not forget to learn from the mistakes of the unsuccessful projects.
  5. Get to know both your competition and prospective partners of your project.
  6. Analyze the results of your research and compare them with one another.
  7. Take an inspiration from the solution that is most suitable for you or combine more solutions.

Keep in mind that...

  • it is always better to start with the desk research in order to get to know the already existing solutions rather than attempting to reinvent the wheel
  • somebody has certainly tackled either the same or a similar problem
  • It might be useful to search through professional databases – design thinking is a current trend in the academia

Find out more

In the exploring phase, you can use the following methods…

When you need to collect a lot of opinions in a short time

When you need a quick feedback

When you need to find out what the users would not say

Download the book Service Design in Libraries

It includes detailed descriptions of case studies from both the Czech Republic and Norway.

Download the book  

Get the design methods card set

You will always have a ready help, which will tell you how to proceed, and which tools to prepare.

Get the card set