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Midwinter 2012 Agenda: RBMS Task Force on Metrics and Assessment

RBMS Task Force on Metrics and Assessment

ALA Midwinter Conference 2012, Dallas, TX.

Saturday, January 21, 10:30- 12:00

Sheraton Dallas Hotel - Majestic 04


1. Introductions

2. Appointment of recorded of minutes

3. Review and revision of the Task Force charge


Background: An action item was approved by the RBMS Executive Committee at ALA Annual 2011: “Mike Kelly will write the charge for and appoint a task force to explore the issue of developing metrics for special collections. The task force will meet at Midwinter 2012 and may report at the 2012 RBMS Preconference.”


The following draft charge was circulated via the RBMS e-mail list:


RBMS Task Force on Metrics and Assessment

One of the key findings of “Taking Our Pulse: The OCLC Research Survey of Special Collections and Archives” (2010) was the need for better metrics and ongoing assessment. The report found:

“A lack of established metrics limits collecting, analyzing, and comparing statistics across the special collections community. Norms for tracking and assessing user services, metadata creation, archival processing, digital production, and other activities are necessary for measuring institutions against community norms and for demonstrating locally that primary constituencies are being well served.”


It seems appropriate for the membership of RBMS to take on the recommended action to “develop and promulgate metrics that enable standardized measurement of key aspects of special collections use and management.”


The RBMS Task Force on Metrics and Assessment will be charged with examining current practices for gathering and reporting statistics on special collections and archives; conducting a survey of the literature; and working toward establishing best practices. The Task Force will consider both what activities are worthy of assessment and how to undertake the assessment of those activities. As the OCLC report points out, without norms for our metrics it is extremely difficult to make comparisons across institutions. This Task Force will work toward establishing practices that will enable more meaningful assessment of the services we provide to our various constituencies.