The following article is new from EDUCAUSE Review Online.
- Without a valid, reliable way to collect data from various library and enterprise systems, it’s difficult to quantitatively assert how a library adds value.
- The University of Wollongong Library developed the Library Cube, a tailored database and reporting function that joins library usage data with student data, including demographic and academic performance information.
- Analysis of the resulting data reveals a strong correlation between students’ grades and use of information resources the library provides.
By providing access to information resources, academic libraries play a significant role in the student experience. To date, efforts to assess the impact of accessing library-owned or subscribed content have largely focused on satisfaction surveys, feedback, and “return on investment” projects such as contingent valuation. Although surveys and feedback systems provide data and information on a range of service elements, they are limited in their capacity to provide information and insight into the perceived value gained by engaging with the library — that is, on a client’s return on effort for using library services and resources. They are also unable to identify non-users effectively. Faculty awareness and knowledge of student use of library information resources is equally limited.
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