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University of California, Davis and Athenaeum21 Define an Open Research Library Assessment Dashboard and Toolkit to Centralize Visibility into Diverse Library Data Sources

 The University Library of the University of California, Davis (UCD), funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, has partnered with Athenaeum21 (A21) on a six-month planning project, towards the creation of an open "research library executive assessment dashboard/toolkit." A dashboard is a uniform display of essential information, presented in such a way that the user (in this case, library leaders) can monitor what’s going on in an instant.


UCD University Librarian MacKenzie Smith explains, “Constant assessment is one of the most important things that libraries can do in these rapidly changing times. We need tools like this dashboard for library administrators to centralize their view into all the available data, to take full advantage of it and learn more from each other.”


Dashboards are common in certain industries, such as healthcare and information technology, but have yet to significantly contribute to research library performance and management. The ultimate goal of this project is to develop infrastructures that provide research library managers and leaders with the most important data needed to make decisions about their operations.


The project will involve research and interviews to align the most important library management questions with available and relevant library data sources for the dashboard. Deliverables of the planning project will be a full grant proposal, with cost estimates and supporting documentation, and a phased plan to develop a full dashboard and toolkit, including iterative implementation and evaluation. Ultimately, the resulting dashboard/toolkit will facilitate evidence-based decision making and management of library services, resources, and assets, using existing library and institutional data sources.


Principal Investigator, UCD University Librarian MacKenzie Smith and co-PI, Deputy University Librarian and Chief of Staff William Garrity, will work with A21 co-founders Megan Hurst and Dr. Christine Madsen, and library assessment expert Dr. Frankie Wilson, to conduct the preliminary research, scope, and write a subsequent grant proposal. The full proposal will include a detailed and fully-costed bid that will involve inter-institutional collaboration among the UCD University Library, the Bodleian Libraries at the University of Oxford, and the Göttingen State and University Library in Germany, with the potential for additional participants.


The scoping project proposal is available here:



For questions or comments about the project, contact Megan Hurst at hurst@athenaeum21.com



Athenaeum21 offers end-to-end digital innovation services for educational and cultural heritage institutions, government agencies, and knowledge organizations. Beginning with a focus on strategy, intent, market and end-user analysis, we help our clients answer the questions of what it is that they should be doing in the ‘digital arena’ and why. From the formation of strategy, to the implementation of new programs and services, to the assessment of programs and services, A21 helps diverse organizations evolve their information and knowledge systems and services with vision, confidence, and pragmatism.






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