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All Your Data Displayed in One Place: Scoping Research Final Report for a Library Assessment Dashboard and Toolkit

12 Dec 2016

Athenaeum21 is pleased to announce the public release of “Library Assessment Toolkit & Dashboard Scoping Research Final Report and Path Forward." The report is the culmination of a six-month research project in collaboration with the University Library of the University of California, Davis; the Bodleian Libraries of the University of Oxford; and the Staats und Universitätsbibliothek, Göttingen, Germany. The research project examined  how libraries currently assess their resources and services, and areas of opportunity to streamline and visualize library performance through a common and customizable set of key performance indicators (KPIs) and dashboard modules.


The research team interviewed library assessment leaders and practitioners across diverse institutions and geographies, and reviewed the current landscape of technology, tools, and services addressing their needs.

The report concludes that "the majority of library managers approach assessment and evaluation in an ad hoc and reactive manner as questions arise. Managers spend valuable time manually collecting, cleaning, and normalizing data from diverse systems, and then perform one-time or static interpretations. The library managers that we interviewed during our research felt that the availability of a toolkit and dashboard could free them to probe and interpret more data, think more strategically, and develop more meaningful questions about measuring and evaluating library performance. While the scoping research focused on the performance of research libraries, the proposed toolkit and dashboard framework could be adopted and customized by any type of library, including smaller college and university libraries, community college libraries, and public libraries. Institutionalizing the project through sponsorship by an appropriate body or syndicate of libraries would help assure its extensibility nationally and internationally."


The report defines the key elements required for a library assessment toolkit, which would build upon multiple important library assessment efforts internationally, including the Association of Research Libraries’ various assessment activities, Jisc and the Higher Education Statistical Association’s HEIDI plus initiatives (which
includes the former LAMP project), Wollongong’s Library Cube, the Public Library Association’s Outcome Measures, ISO standard 11620:2014 of Library Performance Indicators, and proprietary library collection assessment tools, such as SpringShare’s LibAnalytics, and OCLC’s GreenGlass. The proposed toolkit and dashboard diverges from these important efforts, however, in that it would provide an “end-to-end,” comprehensive framework that connects library key performance indicators with the full range of library data sources -- from operational and financial data to collection management data. The scoping research report includes a project plan and timeline to implement recommendations for the technical support of data aggregation and normalization, efforts that are currently significant obstacles to libraries’ assessment efforts.


Project research lead and contact:

Megan Hurst

Athenaeum21 Consulting (US)




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