November 27th – Data Analysis

The due date for this assignment is coming up very quickly. I haven’t been able to get to everything on my list, but I was probably over-ambitious. Once I got the Class Shell loaded on to the new pc my productivity went up considerably. And my frustration level went down, which was a positive.

Today’s topic is data analysis. There are more than 12 journal articles to read and understand.  My eyes glaze over periodically. The ability to highlight phrases in Adobe Reader is helpful. Hopefully when I go back they will still be there.

One thing that library patrons likely don’t realize is that once they return a book, there is no tie between their library record and what they have signed out. In some ways this makes data analysis easier, as there are fewer privacy concerns. Just as important as the data itself is the metadata. What libraries can collect is based on their ILS software, software for their websites and access to their data. It seems logical to me that it would be important to analyze the statistics that are related to money – are the items that the libraries spend most of their money on the ones that are used the most? Also, what trends can be found? With shrinking budgets, libraries need to be able to justify their expenditures more than ever.

I was thinking mostly about data analysis in public libraries at the start of the assignment, but have found a good article about an academic library . It is “change by numbers: using data to assess and transform library service environments”, by Hector Escobar, Heidi Gauder, and Frances Rice. It was in the September 2012 edition of Catholic Library World. The article is a case study about collecting library statistics and using them to make evidence-based decisions. The study used some software tools, but kept costs and time to a minimum. So far it has been an enlightening read.

It’s the second article in the list, so have a lot of reading ahead of me. This is likely my last topic. I can look at the other two software products next week. Just because class is over does not mean that I give up trying new things and trying to keep up with my topics of interest. If I am to be a more than competent library technician, this will be a way of life, not the exception.


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