Following the Numbers
by Dick Kaser
The adage “garbage in, garbage out” may still hold true in general, but not to this issue, which is about using reliable data to produce desired results.
Performing a diversity audit—by counting how many books in your collection feature minority or marginalized groups—can reveal collection gaps and result in an acquisition strategy that is more representative of community interests. Michigan public librarians Anitra Gates, Amberlee McGaughey, Celia Mulder, and Sarah Voels report the results of the diversity audits from their three libraries, using manual counts and vendor tools to understand the current situation and to plan for building more representative collections.
Ken Irwin, web services librarian at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, shares how he used login data and course schedule records to deliver a customized user dashboard that tailors search results to a student’s academic interests. He calls the resulting service MyGuide and tells you how he made it work without violating anyone’s privacy.
Jackie Blanton-Watkins, acquisitions and licensing librarian at Kennesaw State University, reports on her work in managing the acquisition, renewal, and cancellation of library e-resources through a system that considers usage data, computes price comparisons, and gathers input from subject experts to reach good decisions about academic resources. See how her workflow processes assure timely regular resource assessment.
Using polling data, consultant Sonya Norris tells how she collaborated with co-author Jared Oates, COO of Niche Academy, to use a survey to learn how libraries were scoring on seven e-accessibility success factors. She then discusses how to train IT web designers to handle alt text and other accessibility requirements and gives you tips to improve your site’s accessibility score.
In EDTECH, Lorette Weldon shows you how to use ClassDojo to assess students’ skills to understand their research and reading growth, as well as determine their main interests.
I trust this issue will guide and inspire you in following the data about your own library users as you attempt to better serve their needs.
Dick Kaser, Executive Editor