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Lisa Horowitz's picture

Collections Assessment: Data, Tools and Uses

This space is intended to collect:

  • data useful for collections assessment
  • tools to gather data for collections assessment
  • ways people have used that data to make decisions (or other actions)

"Using Data" committee members should add to this list by adding comments to this discussion. Please highlight in your comment whether it is data, tool, or action.

Suzy Szasz Palmer's picture

Has anyone used the company, Sustainable Collection Services, http://sustainablecollections.com/ ?

Suzy Szasz Palmer, Dean of the Library, Longwood University, Farmville, VA

Susan Archambault's picture


  • Library Value Calculator such as http://www.maine.gov/msl/services/calculator.htm

  • Circulation Stats, including In-Library Materials Use ; Interlibrary loan stats

  • For online collections:  formal usability testing (observation as patrons perform tasks)

  • Circulation data and electronic usage data (based on ezyproxy logins) linked to the student ID number which can be mapped to grades. So far there is evidence of a strong correlation. To learn more on what we have done by googling ‘Margie Jantti’ or ‘Brian Cox’ and ‘library cube’ for some of our publications. http://www.educause.edu/ero/article/discovering-impact-library-use-and-student-performance

  • Library Impact Data Project in the UK, led by Graham Stone, Bryony Ramsden, and David Pattern from the University of Huddersfield. A benchmarking study which led to JISC funding a six month research project to prove the hypothesis that:  “There is a statistically significant correlation across a number of universities between library activity data and student attainment”. 
    See http://library.hud.ac.uk/blogs/projects/lidp/




Lisa Horowitz's picture

33862 Ithaka S+R Library Survey 2010: Insights From U.S. Academic Library Directors

This is a data set within ICPSR that might offer data of value in doing peer comparisons. It concerns services and collections in particular.

Its description: 

"Summary:   The Ithaka S+R Library Survey 2010 was an attitudinal survey of library directors at the libraries of institutions that grant degrees at the bachelor's level or higher. The survey focused on themes such as the future of the academic library, strategies library administrators are pursuing for their libraries, the management of print journal collections, the development of new digital collections, services provided to library patrons, the creation of new services to meet changing user needs, and practices for digital preservation. It also measured the attitudes of the library community towards e-books, open access, purchasing decisions, and collections management."


Lisa R. Horowitz
Assessment Librarian/Linguistics Librarian
MIT Libraries

Lisa Horowitz's picture

The Scout Report
June 28, 2013 -- Volume 19, Number 26
Computer Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Northwestern University Library: Data & Methods Bank

How does one conduct a collection assessment? It's a very timely question and one that is answered most thoroughly via this guide from the Northwestern University Library. Clicking on the What is in this Guide? link will help interested parties navigate the swath of material available here on topics like interdisciplinary analysis, qualitative methods, and how to interpret library data. As the materials are designed for library professionals and others in the information sciences, they may require a certain level of technical background in these areas. The materials are divided into eight sections, including Interdisciplinary Analysis, Comparative Analysis, and Cost Projections & Publishing Market. The guides within each area are spot-on and provide the necessary armature for those working in these fields. [KMG]


Lisa R. Horowitz
Assessment Librarian/Linguistics Librarian
MIT Libraries