16 Jun 2013

Irish Libraries in Numbers - ANLTC SCONUL Statistics Workshop

Guest post by Michelle Breen, Assistant Librarian, UL

Representatives of the Irish SCONUL Statistics community assembled in the University of Limerick on June 13th for a 1-day ANLTC workshop delivered by Claire Creaser, the Director of LISU. All UK universities and almost all Higher Education Colleges are members of SCONUL, and increasing numbers of Irish university libraries are now contributing their annual statistics to the SCONUL database.

Ireland will for the first time in 2013 have an All-Ireland total and this will allow us to realistically compare our performance and identify gaps in service. With approximately 3 years of Irish statistics available it is not possible yet to definitively comment on trends in Irish libraries. However with more Irish libraries submitting their statistics to SCONUL we will be better able to benchmark locally and we can have some authority in our advocacy efforts. Member libraries will be able to readily access up to date figures from the SCONUL database. Business cases can be built on quantitative data allowing us to include strong evidence in funding bids and strategic planning.

Image Credit: Michelle Breen
The first group practical session of the course asked us to consider how libraries can measure the effects of new trends on our library services. The suggestions below address familiar trends in Open Access, Patron-Driven Acquisition, Communication, Mobile access to information, Digital Libraries, Shared Services, Altmetrics, Large Datasets. Identifying the trends was step one, our next challenge is establishing common ways to measure the effect of these trends on our services. SCONUL took this feedback from the group and obviously can help with the recording of some of it but there are probably some things we can do ourselves. This is not an exhaustive list but demonstrates how some of our colleagues are already using available data to make service improvements. Perhaps we can flesh out this topic in an #irelibchat next year?

Uptake of patron driven acquisition by discipline

Evaluate engagement levels with your Facebook page or Twitter?

Usage of OA sources Vs ISI titles

Use Google Analytics to see what OS is most heavily used
% of patron driven acquisition Vs traditional purchasing methods
Record amount of online instruction delivered
IR / Digital Libraries
Develop services using HTML5 rather than IOs or Android OS apps
Cost/usage of patron selected titles Vs traditionally bought books
Count amount of online queries handled
Identify quietest times, advice researchers accordingly
Additional devices means an increased demand for power sockets
Identify top circulating books and make readily available e.g. NUIG book dispenser
Efficiencies made through shared services (physical and electronic)
Monitor where researchers work/communicate – 70% on Twitter in UK
Increased budget required to cover electricity costs in refurbishment plans
Circulation: reservations not collected
Usage / occupancy of study rooms
Ratio of library spend to researcher
Are your QR codes resulting in increased traffic to your site?

The afternoon’s practical session focused on using the SCONUL Statistical Reporting Tool. The statistical reporting tool is available to SCONUL members only and is a very useful way for libraries to carry out benchmarking exercises against similar institutions. When building a case for a new library, Loughborough University made use of SCONUL data about themselves and their nearest neighbours. They demonstrated that despite having fewer study desks in their library they were more heavily used than those at neighbouring libraries. Having SCONUL statistics available helped them to prepare an evidence-based submission to their funders. They did not get a new library but are due to begin a refurbishment in September.

Collating the annual SCONUL submission is a big undertaking but Claire reminded us that the amount of effort an institution puts in to the submission should be commensurate with the value you are likely to get out of it. Claire made us aware of the work of JUSP, a Manchester-based MIMAS unit that tracks eresource usage. On a commercial basis JUSP Consult can provide libraries with reports on eresource use at an individual institution. Anyone involved in compiling SCONUL Statistics should consider joining the JISC mailing list LIS-SCONUL-STATS

Image Credit: Michelle Breen


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