Stanford Libraries survey: which resources are important to faculty?

Standford University Libraries recently surveyed faculty in their Schools of Humanities & Sciences, Engineering, Education, and Earth Sciences about the kinds of resources that are important for their research. Stanford Libraries blog provides some initial results (broken down by  School) about the importance of books (print and electronic), electronic journals, maps/geospatial data, numeric data, and archival materials to faculty research.

The  survey also included open ended questions about how access to resources could be improved and about “a variety of tools (e.g. the library website, SearchWorks, bibliographic management software), and expertise (e.g. subject librarians, data specialists)”. The data from the opened-ended questions, and further analysis of survey results, will be available soon on the Stanford Libraries blog.


Assessment @ ALA Midwinter in Seattle

Here are a few assessment-related sessions happening at the ALA Midwinter meeting in Seattle next week:

What: ARL Library Assessment Forum
When: Friday, January 25, 1:30-3:00pm
Where: Sheraton Seattle Hotel – Ravenna
Further details here:
Session URL:

What: Assessment Discussion Group (ACRL)
When: Saturday, January 26, 4:30-5:30pm
Where: Westin Seattle Hotel – Fifth Ave Room
The ACRL Assessment Discussion Group meeting will focus on two topics: collaborative assessment and standards for library assessment.  Lisa Hinchliffe, of the University Library at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a leader in the library value movement, will lead the discussion of collaborative assessment. This discussion will focus on library collaboration with other data-gathering entities on your campus in order to provide a rich picture of the impact of the library on issues of importance to the university as a whole.  For example, some libraries have been able to compare student grades to their library use and see if there is a correlation between library use and grades.  Others are looking at the library’s contribution to student retention or to faculty success in  grant proposals. Steve Hiller, Director of Assessment and Planning at the University of Washington Libraries and a long-time leader in and advocate for library assessment, will lead a discussion about the history and importance of standards for library assessment in general and about two ISO standards in particular: ISO 11620 – Performance indicators for Libraries and ISO 16439 – Library Impact Assessment, (still under development).  Please join us for a lively discussion of cutting-edge assessment topics and learn from leaders in the field!
Moderator: Joan Stein, Carnegie Mellon University Libraries, Head, Resource Sharing
Moderator: Sarah Passonneau, Assessment Librarian, Iowa State University
Speaker: Lisa Hinchliffe, Coordinator for Information Literacy Services and Instruction, University Library University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Speaker: Steve Hiller, Director of Assessment and Planning, University of Washington Libraries
Session URL:

What: ACRL ULS Evidence-Based Practices Discussion Group
When: Sunday, January 27, 10:30-11:30am
Where: Washington State Convention Center, TCC LL2
Are you trying to figure out how to improve your library? Do you have local assessment data but it’s not doing what you need? Have you been reading articles that have helped make a difference in your decision-making?
A few ULS members have annotated a set of articles that describe or define evidence-based librarianship. We will use these articles as a jumping off point for discussion at ALA midwinter. Please join us to talk about the best ways of doing research and finding information that helps you improve the practical working of your library.
Some articles for background information:
Annotated select bibliography:
Add it to your schedule:

What: Update on ACRL’s Value of Academic Libraries Initiative (ACRL)
When: Sunday, January 27, 1:00-2:30pm
Where: Washington State Convention Center – Room 602-603
Learn about ACRL’s new IMLS grant “Assessment in Action: Academic Libraries and Student Success.” Teams – of a librarian and at least two others from campus – will be selected to develop and implement action-learning projects that examine the impact of the library. A blended learning environment and peer-to-peer network will support the librarian team leaders. Find out more about the project goals and how to apply; applications are due in March.
Speaker: Kara Malenfant, Scholarly Communs & Govt Relations Spec, American Library Association
Speaker: Lisa Hinchliffe, Coordinator for Information Literacy Services and Instruction, University Library University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Speaker: Terri Fishel
Session URL:

What: Collection Evaluation and Assessment Interest Group
When: Sunday, January 27, 1:00-2:30pm
Where: Renaissance Seattle Hotel, Municipal Room
Theme: Findings that surprised us: Delving into the data and dealing with the unexpected
Location:  Renaissance Seattle Hotel, Municipal Room
The first half of these session will be devoted to our two speakers who will present case studies in which their data findings were unexpected, and how they used this data to shape their future work with their collections.  The second half will be devoted to small group discussions.
Session URL:

What: Measurement, Assessment and Evaluation Discussion Group
When: Sunday, January 27,4:30-5:30pm
Where: Washington State Convention Center – TCC 302
Join us in conversation as we explore the topic “What’s the Return on ROI?” Dr. Danuta Nitecki, Dean of Libraries at Drexel University, will share impressions from the perspective of a library dean considering the use of ROI in an academic library setting, including data gathering and analysis challenges. There will also be discussion of the use of ROI analysis by public libraries. Following these opening remarks, discussion group attendees will participate in directed small table discussions focused on their experiences with ROI analysis, its benefits and costs, services most suited to ROI analysis, and its fit in overall library assessment programs. The hour will conclude with a “report out” from each table.
Session URL:

Assessing the needs of doctoral students in the humanities – report from the Libraries Assessment Conference

Guest post by Ann Whitney Gleason (Health Sciences Library):

At the recent 2012 Libraries Assessment Conference, Cornell and Columbia University Librarians reported on their collaboration to assess the needs of doctoral students in the humanities, using ethnographic interviewing methods.  This initiative is a part of the broader 2CUL partnership between the two universities – see their website at

Completed in March 2011, the assessment activities included focus groups and individual interviews with humanities Ph.D. candidates. Goals of the project were to find library user needs of these graduate students, determine the impact of library services and support on attrition and degree completion, and propose library intervention strategies to help lower attrition and shorten the time to degree completion. The study produced over 1,000 pages of interview transcripts, which were coded to find recurring themes.

Study results found that humanities doctoral students were heavy physical library space users who come to the library to read, browse and do research from library resources, but most do not spend time writing in the library.  Space for both quiet, individual study and group activities was important. The need for assistance with information management strategies and help with citation management tools was expressed. While students overall were satisfied with library resources, they had mixed reactions to ebooks and the transition to electronic resources. Students expressed a need for feeling a part of a community of support as well as feeling support for their emotional well-being, in order to achieve academic success.

To read the reports or for more information:

New(ish) report: Researchers of Tomorrow: the research behaviour of Generation Y doctoral students

The UK Joint Information Systems Committee and the British Library have just released a major (17,00 student) study of the behaviors and beliefs of “Generation Y” (eg born 1983-1992) doctoral students involving social media, information access, and related matters.

A press release including some summary of the findings, and pointers to the entire report, are at:

You can download the report at

New report: Participatory Design in Academic Libraries

report coverThe Council on Library and Information Resources has just issued a new report titled Participatory Design in Academic Libraries: Methods, Findings, and ImplementationsThis is a web-only report.

Participatory design is an approach to building spaces, services, and tools where the people who will use them participate centrally in coming up with concepts and then designing the actual products.

The papers in this volume, written by librarians and IT professionals from 12 colleges and universities, report on user research and participatory design projects. All of the authors attended workshops and then dove fearlessly into projects with as little as two days of training. Nancy Fried Foster provides an introduction to the report.

The authors wanted to learn how their students or faculty members do their academic work. Their reports share new methods of approaching enduring questions and offer a number of useful and interesting findings. They make a good case for participatory design of academic libraries.

ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2012

The 2012 ECAR Study of Undergradate Students and Information Technology was released last month.Here is a great infographic released to show the findings.



To read the full report, visit:


Webinar: Communicating Through Infographics

Have you noticed the growing trend of communicating through infographics? Do you wonder where the data comes from and how to verify information displayed in visual form? Would you rather read a 100 page report or look at a visual presentation that conveys the story in less than one minute? Would you like to tell a compelling story about your library through the medium of infographics?

Visual representation of information has existed for hundreds of years in various forms and formats. Infographics (information graphics) represent the latest visual form to gain popularity. Telling an effective story through infographics requires accurate data, compelling design, and visualization tools.

During this one-hour webinar, we will discuss and demonstrate:

  • blogs and infographic search resources to find examples and track trends
  • differences between infographics, poster art, and data visualization
  • common data sources used in infographics (big data and local sources)
  • suggest library-specific data and statistics appropriate for visual presentation
  • visualization tools for experimentation

Title: Communicating Through Infographics
Presenter: Dawne Tortorella
Date: Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Start Time: 12-1 Pacific
Price: Free!

This webinar will be of interest to library staff at all levels and in all types of libraries who need to present information to customers, stakeholders, and management. Senior staff and directors responsible for board reporting are especially encouraged to attend.

Please note: we have changed hosting services fromWebEx to Adobe Connect, so we advise you to test your browser before the webinar:
For more webinar tips, see:

For more information and to participate in the Wednesday, November 14, 2012 webinar, go to

If you are unable to attend the live event, you can access the archived version the day following the webinar. Check our archive listing at:

New study: ‘Discovering the Impact of Library Use and Student Performance’

How do we measure the impact library use has on student performance? A recent EDUCAUSE Review online publication by Brian Cox and Margi Jantti describes an exciting study out of the University of Wollongong Library in Australia that tries to address just that question.

The study explores the challenge of how libraries can collect data from a variety of library systems and then make connections between data sources in order to demonstrate library value.

One of the most promising aspects of their efforts involves the development of the ‘Library Cube,’ ‘a tailored database and reporting function that joins library usage data with student data,  including demographic and academic performance information.’

Read the full article here:

Using Discovery Teams for Space Needs Assessment

A recent thread on the ASSESS – Assessment in Higher Education listserv dealt with space assessment for libraries. One of the postings concerned a recent project at Virgina Tech University Libraries, which involved setting up a number of ‘Discovery Teams’ to find out how students were using the library:

“In an effort to prepare for upcoming renovations the University Libraries formed “discovery teams” to better understand how students use space and technology for their academic endeavors. Based on the deep dive methodology of IDEO, the library assembled volunteers to explore a variety of themes during the Spring 2012 semester. Teams consisted of forty-seven people including librarians, instructors, staff, undergraduates, graduate students, advisors, and administrators.”

Reports on key themes from the various discovery teams (including media production, knowledge creation, technology, study habits of individuals, and group collaboration)  are available on the Virginia Tech University Libraries website:

Call for papers – RUSA Research and Statistics Committee

This recently came through the ili-l (information literacy) listserv – one of the topics mentioned in the call for papers is ‘reference effectiveness and assessment’:


The Research and Statistics Committee of the Reference Services Section of RUSA invites the submission of research projects for presentation at the 19th Reference Research Forum at the 2013 American Library Association Annual Conference in Chicago, IL.

The Reference Research Forum continues to be one of the most popular and valuable programs during the ALA Annual Conference, where attendees can learn about notable research projects conducted in the broad area of reference services such as user behavior, electronic services, reference effectiveness and assessment, and organizational structure and personnel. All researchers, including reference practitioners from all types of libraries, library school faculty and students, and other interested individuals, are encouraged to submit a proposal.

For examples of projects presented at past Forums, please see the Committee’s website:

The Committee employs a blind review process to select three projects for 20-minute presentations, followed by open discussion. Selected submissions must be presented in person at the Forum in Chicago, IL.

Criteria for selection:

• Quality and creativity of the research design and methodologies;

• Significance of the study for improving the quality of reference service;

• Potential for research to fill a gap in reference knowledge or to build on previous studies;

• Research projects may be in-progress or completed;

• Previously published research or research accepted for publication will not be accepted.

Proposals are due by Monday, December 31, 2012. Notification of acceptance will be made by Monday, February 11, 2013. The submission must not exceed two pages. Please include:

1. A cover sheet including your name(s), title(s), institutional affiliation(s), mailing address(es), fax number(s) and email address(es).

2. The second page should NOT show your name, any personal information, or the name of your institution. Instead, it must include:

a. Title of the project;

b. Explicit statement of the research problem;

c. Description of the research design and methodologies used, and preliminary findings if any;

d. Brief discussion of the unique contribution, potential impact, and significance of the research.

Please send submissions by email to: Lynda Duke, Chair, RUSA RSS Research and Statistics Committee,