by Lynda M. Kellam, Data Services & Government Information Librarian, University of NC at Greensboro (

Slicing and Dicing: Usage Statistics for the Practitioner

Presented Rick Burke (Executive Director, Statewide California Electronic Library Consortium, SCELC); Jason Price (Acquisitions and Collections Services Manager, Claremont Colleges); John McDonald (Library Administration, Claremont Colleges); Annette Day (Head, Collection Management, North Carolina State University Libraries)

Saturday, June 25 from 10:30-12:00pm

The ALCTS Acquisitions Section’s Research and Statistics Committee and the RUSA CODES Collection Development Planning and Assessment Committee co-sponsored this helpful session. Each presentation examined the question of how to analyze print and electronic usage statistics in meaningful ways. Burke and Price presented on the SCELC’s adoption of PaperStats from Pubget ( SCELC is the Statewide California Electronic Library Consortium that serves over 100 academic and nonprofit libraries in California and other western states. SCELC’s primary purpose is to support libraries through licensing of products, but they realized that the small schools in their consortium would benefit from a tool that could track and analyze usage data. They chose PaperStats from Pubget, which would allow for the aggregation of existing vendor statistics and the import of consortial data. This tool provides SCELC members a portal in which to retrieve and display usage data and more in a meaningful way.

McDonald from the Claremont University Consortium highlighted his efforts to use data analysis to understanding the holes in the Claremont approval plan. He said the approval plan had problems—not enough auto-shipped books were being received, slips were not matching the books actually ordered—but he wanted to use data analysis to better understand the actual problem. After gathering data from a variety of sources, including Gobi records, catalog data and usage statistics, he performed a detailed analysis to determine the possible predictors for purchase and usage (primarily discipline and YBP select designation such as Essential). He concluded that the exercise helped him to better grasp the needs of the Claremont approval plan and also the areas to give more attention. For example, he could justify automatically selecting on approval monographs with the YBP select designation of Essential for certain major LC classes.

Finally, Day discussed some projects at North Carolina State University Libraries to analyze and interpret data to justify collection dollars. One project is a journal review study in which they created a user-driven feedback system allowing users to rank journals but that also weighted their rankings based on the user’s subject expertise (determined by their department placement at the university). They then included cost per use, impact factor and other metrics as well as additional faculty feedback to help drive their purchasing decisions. In the second project the libraries created a collection views database, which is a SQL database mapping department profile data (amount of grant money received, numbers of PhDs) with their collection funds. From this database, they are able to generate data visualizations to help align expenditures. The libraries can ask and answer questions about how the data generated matches up with the libraries’ priorities and known use of resources. All four presentations did a wonderful job demonstrating how librarians could use in unique ways a variety of data sources, either available in-house, on-campus, or from a vendor, to demonstrate use and value.

For more information, see the ALA Connect site with the presentation slides


Interview with Chor-Ching Fan, Senior Director of Product Management for LogiXML

On Sunday, June 25 at the ALA Annual Conference I spoke with Chor-Ching Fan of LogiXML. The company has been a leader in business intelligence for over ten years, but recently began partnering with academic libraries to assist in developing rich dashboard and analytics for e-resources and integrated library systems (ILS). Boston College, Purdue University, New York University, and Texas Tech are charter partners who have helped to develop Logi Insight for Libraries, a tool that aggregates data sources and provides a web-based portal allowing for custom reports and visual analysis.

The first component of Logi Insight is an ILS analytics and reporting tool that was announced at the ACRL conference in April. This component aggregates data from dispersed sources to supplement the basic information available within a library’s ILS with the current partners running ExLibris’ Aleph or Voyager. Library staff members are able to access information about circulation, interlibrary loan, budgeting, cataloging and potentially more. Based on a demonstration I saw of Logi Insight, the program provides an easy-to-use interface with which librarians can answer a wide variety of questions about usage and budgeting priorities. For a demonstration of the LogiInsight interface and its customizable reports, watch their tutorial at

The second and newer component called eResources Analytics is focused on bringing e-resources data into Logi Insight. The system combines ILS information, COUNTER reports, and data from other budgeting systems. It can even resolve across differing COUNTER reports standards. Using these data visualization and reporting tools librarians can have a better grasp of e-resource usage and relative value and be in a better position to prioritize at home and then negotiate with vendors.

Finally, LogiXML has announced the availability of Logi Mobile and showcased a live iPhone app built by Boston College that allows students and faculty to access their library accounts and find resources.

The benefit of LogiXML’s Logi Insight is being able to aggregate a variety of data sources in disperse silos, from budgeting data to circulation data and more, and then create easily customizable analytics and visualizations. They improve on the existing reporting mechanisms within a library’s ILS by aggregating data from disparate sources with far less manual effort to answer the “Why” questions in a timely manner. According to Mr. Fan, the most likely customers for Logi Insight are ARL universities who want to put more relevant information at the fingertips of non-technical library staff so they can make better operational and strategic decisions to address the needs and behaviors of today’s patrons. For more information, see the LogiXML website at


Numeric and Geospatial Data Services in Academic Libraries Interest Group (DIG) meeting

Saturday, June 25, 2011 

Data services and data librarians are becoming more common in academic libraries, but because of their interdisciplinary focus, they do not have one group in ALA. To give data librarians a home, Jen Darragh, data librarian at Johns Hopkins University, created DIG, a data interest group within ACRL. Although most current members are public service librarians, DIG welcomes anyone with an interest in numeric and geospatial data.

At the DIG meeting at Annual we discussed a hot topic in the data world, research data management plans, and shared ideas for supporting this area of service. While we agreed about the need to assist our faculty, the group differed in our approaches to the various problems related to data management, especially educating faculty about metadata and the appropriateness of archiving data at local institutions. The discussion also touched when to refer faculty to the existing data archives, such as the Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) or the Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA). The discussion was wide-ranging and several interesting ideas emerged. You can read more about the meeting and its topics at

If this is an issue you are currently tackling at your institution or if you are new to the data management world, here is a new resource on data management issues worldwide:

For more information about DIG, see


Emerging Leader Poster Session

Friday, June 24, 2011

On Friday, June 24 before the official opening of the ALA conference, a group of new librarians and library students gathered together for their final duty as members of the 2011 class of Emerging Leaders. The Emerging Leaders program for ALA is a relatively new leadership development program started in 2006 as one of former ALA President Leslie Burger’s initiatives. Every year the new class is divided into groups to tackle projects sponsored by ALA divisions and roundtables. Some projects are small while others are ambitious, but they all reflect the diversity of ALA. While I cannot cover all of the projects here, I will highlight a few interesting ones. You can read all of the projects at

The first, Project G, developed a collection policy for a video game and console collection. In addition to writing a model policy, they developed resources for assistance with cataloging, maintenance, and weeding of the collection. In addition, they developed guidelines for programming to promote and support the collection. You can read more about Project G at or at their project site,

Project L worked with LearnRT (the Learning Round Table) to develop best practices for creating a webinar series. They reviewed the websites of 16 webinar programs to gather information about their practices. They then surveyed key organizers to formulate their recommendations, which included suggestions for planning, promotions, scheduling, choosing presenters, and differences in platforms. For more information about the project, including their full report, see

Finally, Project I worked to create a library of resources about website usability. Sponsored by the Information Technology and Telecommunication Services of ALA, they entitled their project “The Seven Deadliest Sins of Library Websites” and created an accompanying delicious site ( On the delicious site you can find a matrix explaining the seven deadliest sins along with examples. They give suggestions for improvement for each “sin” based on the type of library (academic, school, public, etc), thereby acknowledging the differing needs of each.  For more information see