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Dangerous Liaisons - UW Libraries

September 28, 2017

Recommended Reading: Academic Library Impact

Laura Dimmit

I’ve been reading through Academic Library Impact: Improving Practice and Essential Areas to Research, which was released this week (the result of a partnership between ACRL and OCLC Research). Especially at this time of year, when we are welcoming students back to our campuses, preparing for a busy season of teaching, and and just generally turning things up to 11, I’ve found it interesting to spend time with a document that is equally full of possibilities and new avenues.

The report itself is a hefty thing, so I’m not going to try and break it all down for you. Rather, I’ll share a few highlights about content and structure.

The “Essential Areas to Research” identified in the report are as follows:

  1. Communicate the library’s contributions.
  2. Match library assessment to institution’s mission.
  3. Include library data in institutional data collection.
  4. Quantify the library’s impact on student success.
  5. Enhance teaching and learning.
  6. Collaborate with educational stakeholders.

For each suggested research area, the report sketches out a brief summary of the issue, followed by a short list of “suggested actions,” and a set of potential research questions.

Equally intriguing are the two tools built on the hundreds of citations included in the report’s literature review.

One is a visualization dashboard, which you can access here. The dashboard allows you to sort the several hundred articles included in the literature review by a variety of attributes–publication year, outcomes measured, method of analysis, and others.

The other is a literature search, which allows you to pull documents based on either a keyword search or a set of criteria. At the very least, this could be a valuable tool when looking for examples of studies using a particular data collection or analysis methodology.

Obviously, this is a busy time for us all, so consider bookmarking this report and revisiting it later in the year!