Week in Review – 25 October 2013

Statistics Review: Library Services

At the beginning of the 2012-13 academic year, USMA Library began a more concerted effort to track various metrics regarding our services and some internal functions. With now more than a year of data collected, we can begin to do a little more analysis to understand both the cycles of services, as well as the relative change over time. Below are three graphs that look at different types of services provided by USMA Library, 1) the number of items circulated, 2) the number of general reference inquiries received, and 3) the number of Special Collections & Archives inquiries received.

Items circulated by the USMA Library  since August 2012 (click to embiggen)

Items circulated by the USMA Library since August 2012 (click to embiggen)

The first chart looks at items circulated. This captures a traditional, though increasingly small slice of library use. Once upon a time, use of the physical monograph collection was the only indicator of library collection use. Today, monograph use is a relatively small percentage of overall use given the strong move toward digital content. Overall, we are seeing a somewhat significant reduction in number of items circulated during Fall 2013 over Fall 2012. The exact cause of the drop is not apparent from the data, although our website change and introduction of our new discovery tool Scout may play a role here. Prior to this fall, users searching from our library home page searched our library catalog and therefore only received results from our cataloged print and digital collection. With the introduction of Scout, now users are searching a much broader set of resources, of which our print holdings are only a part. Thus, many searches for information may be quickly satisfied through Scout without consulting physical materials (just a hypothesis).

General reference inquiries to USMA Library since August 2012 (click to embiggen)

General reference inquiries to USMA Library since August 2012 (click to embiggen)

The second chart above looks at general reference inquiries, which unlike our circulation statistics are stronger this fall than last. Of our services, traffic for reference assistance is the most volatile based upon time of year as noted by the high peaks and low valleys. It is not difficult to spot Spring Break on this chart.

Special Collections & Archives reference inquiries to USMA Library since August 2012 (click to embiggen)

Special Collections & Archives reference inquiries to USMA Library since August 2012 (click to embiggen)

The third chart above looks at reference inquiries to our Special Collections & Archives division which has its own unique rhythm of service. Generally inquiries here are much more steady throughout the year as a significant portion of these inquiries are from external researchers not affiliated with USMA and therefore not tied to our academic calendar. The great Special Collections and Archives move of 2013 is clearly visible on this chart where we closed to researchers. These requests are also lower so far this fall, partly due to the ongoing federal budget challenges which impacted our ability to respond to some inquiries from outside researchers.

Periodically, we’ll look at more of these metrics year-over-year as we work to understand what drives them and how the USMA community uses our services and collections. As always, weekly statistics are included each week in the Week in Review.

Library Resumes (Mostly) Normal Operations

With the passage of a continuing resolution through January, we have been working to restore full library services, including the resumption of interlibrary loan services. Patrons should be able to request materials as necessary. We continue to work toward a solution to make interlibrary loan services in particular more resilient to funding interruptions.

USMA Library Events

The events below will likely affect USMA Library and Jefferson Hall operations in the coming week.

Date USMA O/DEAN USMA Library Jefferson Hall Hours
25 October 2013
Week in Review 0700-2100
26 October 2013
27 October 2013
28 October 2013
Opera Forum 0700-2315
29 October 2013
Division Heads  Philosophy & Literature Event 0700-2315
30 October 2013
SCUSA SCUSA 0700-2315
31 October 2013
 SCUSA  Dean’s Staff Meeting  Library Committee SCUSA 0700-2315
1 November 2013
 SCUSA Week in Review SCUSA 0700-2100

USMA Library Metrics

USMA Library tracks a number of key statistics to measure service levels. These are their stories …

Access Services
Items Charged Out 655 589 904 936
Gate Count n/a n/a n/a n/a
ILL Article Requests 27 2 23 28
ILL Book Requests 14 2 19 10
Administrative Services
DV Tours 1 0 0 0
Significant Events Hosted 0 2 1 2
Events/Meetings Attended 20 12 19 15
Information Gateway
Reference Questions 82 38 94 88
Library Instruction Sessions 8 7 1 2
Cadets Attending Sessions 116 113 10 27
Materials Processing
Items Added – Books 41 7 40 139
Items Added – Digital 0 0 10 3,410
Items Added – GovDocs 91 0 0 89
Items Added – Other 41 0 0 72
Continuing Resource Check-Ins 78 63 0 194
Special Collections & Archives
Reference Inquiries 39 33 40
Research Visits < 1 hour 10 1 10
Research Visits < 1 day 5 0 0
Research Visits > 1 day 0 0 0
Instruction Sessions 8 8 0
Cadets Taught 128 123 0
Systems Management
Library Home Page Visits 3,508 3,849 4,824 4,096
LibGuides Visits 575 599 813 683
Digital Collections Visits 243 256 278 257
Facebook Visits 44 47 30 40
Public Printer Prints 5,409 5,024 5,749 4,724
Public Printer Copies 345 242 532 301
Public Printer Scans 301 35 243 93

Food for Thought

A few quotations from the past week about libraries, information, technology, and the future

  • “The public library was often viewed as the ‘university of the people.’ This is still a good metaphor; it is one that needs to be put on steroids. Public libraries are now centers for social workers, entrepreneurial incubators, literacy classes, maker spaces, puppet shows, and hacker labs as well as places for books, magazines, and videos” – Michael Ridley (quoted), Surprise! It’s the Golden Age of Libraries
  • “The internet has replaced the importance of libraries as a repository for knowledge. And digital distribution has replaced the role of a library as a central hub for obtaining the containers of such knowledge: books. And digital bits have replaced the need to cut down trees to make paper and waste ink to create those books. This is evolution, not devolution.” – The End Of The Library | TechCrunch
  • “For example, if two men were caught on camera at the port stealing goods and driving off in a black Honda sedan, Oakland authorities could look up where in the city the car had been in the last several weeks. That could include stoplights it drove past each morning and whether it regularly went to see Oakland A’s baseball games. For law enforcement, data mining is a big step toward more complete intelligence gathering. The police have traditionally made arrests based on small bits of data — witness testimony, logs of license plate readers, footage from a surveillance camera perched above a bank machine. The new capacity to collect and sift through all that information gives the authorities a much broader view of the people they are investigating.” – Privacy Fears Grow as Cities Increase Surveillance – NYTimes.com
  • “Access to a world of infinite information has changed how we communicate, process information, and think. Decentralized systems have proven to be more productive and agile than rigid, top-down ones. Innovation, creativity, and independent thinking are increasingly crucial to the global economy. And yet the dominant model of public education is still fundamentally rooted in the industrial revolution that spawned it, when workplaces valued punctuality, regularity, attention, and silence above all else.” – How a Radical New Teaching Method Could Unleash a Generation of Geniuses | Wired Business | Wired.com
  • “There are undoubtedly more books available to read than ever. Self-publishing has also surged. A report last week from Bowker, which tracks the output of titles, said that in 2012, a whopping 391,000 books were released by companies specializing in works whose authors pay fees for having the copies produced either in print or as e-books. (In 2011, the number was 235,000.) Only a very small number of these books have broken through to the commercial marketplace, but there clearly are a great many people with the urge to write in genres of all kinds—in the hope that readers will find them.” – Why Book Publishing’s Doomsayers Are So Wrong – Peter Osnos – The Atlantic
  • “The simplest way to make sure that we raise literate children is to teach them to read, and to show them that reading is a pleasurable activity. And that means, at its simplest, finding books that they enjoy, giving them access to those books, and letting them read them.” – Neil Gaiman: Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming | Books | theguardian.com
  • “The underlying problem is that government technology procurement is the province of a handful of big contractors and a handful of officials at the agencies who do the buying, and neither side has any real incentive for things to change.” – Bad Government Software | The Baseline Scenario
  • “Mr. Vogel, a professor emeritus at Harvard, said the decision to allow Chinese censors to tinker with his work was an unpleasant but necessary bargain, one that allowed the book to reach the kind of enormous readership many Western authors can only dream of. His book, “Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China,” sold 30,000 copies in the United States and 650,000 in China. “To me the choice was easy,” he said during a book tour of China that drew appreciative throngs in nearly a dozen cities. “I thought it was better to have 90 percent of the book available here than zero.” – Authors Accept Censors’ Rules to Sell in China – NYTimes.com
  • “Wild exploration is increasingly entering the lives of our institutions, whether schools or libraries,” Ito said, noting that, although schools do have a strong role to play in connected learning, “libraries are at the center between formal and informal learning….Libraries by mission are all about self-directed learning.” – Libraries Play A Central Role in Connected Learning | The Digital Shift 2013 – The Digital Shift
  • “About 40 percent of faculty members used social media as a teaching tool in 2013, an increase from 33.8 percent in 2012, according to a report by the Babson Survey Research Group and Pearson Learning Solutions. Likewise, more faculty members used social media for professional communications and work in 2013 (55 percent) than in 2012 (44.7 percent). In both years, faculty members most often used social media for personal purposes.” – More professors using social media as teaching tools | Inside Higher Ed
  • “What Amazon is trying to do is raise my expectations so that I’ll eventually buy everything from it,” Mr. McFarland said. “At some point it won’t have any more competition, and I won’t know if prices are being raised because I’ll have nothing to compare it to.” – Sales Are Colossal, Shares Are Soaring. All Amazon Is Missing Is a Profit – NYTimes.com
  • “We are alarmed at the negative impact of excessive school testing mandates, including your Administration’s own initiatives, on children’s love of reading and literature,” reads the letter. “Recent policy changes by your Administration have not lowered the stakes. On the contrary, requirements to evaluate teachers based on student test scores impose more standardized exams and crowd out exploration.” “Our public school students spend far too much time preparing for reading tests and too little time curling up with books that fire their imaginations,” the letter continues.” – Too much testing is killing kids’ love of reading, authors tell Obama – latimes.com
  • “Technology, it would seem, is the great change agent at work in libraries in recent decades,” she said. “Way back in 1998, when we were working on a strategic plan for my library, the word ‘technology’ came up constantly. What changes would we see? Were we prepared? Could we possibly keep up? But when we held focus groups with faculty, that wasn’t what they cared about. As one professor put it—and this made a huge impact on the way I think about these things—he said, ‘It’s not about technology, it’s about pedagogy.’ For him, the greatest challenge and the greatest role the library could play was to help students learn and to help faculty teach in a world that is changing around us.” – Tech Doesn’t Change Research Habits, but MOOCs May Yet Change Teaching | The Digital Shift 2013 – The Digital Shift
  • “If it had ever been simply about housing books, the great libraries of the world would have been warehouses, not beautiful icons of learning and research.” – The university library of the future – The Globe and Mail

Excerpted from Infoneer Pulse, a digital commonplace book curated by Christopher Barth.