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PLSC Blog 2006

Page history last edited by Kim Miller 11 years, 2 months ago

PLSC FAQs

The Public Library Statistics Cooperative (PLSC) FAQ blog is for SDCs to share information about PLSC public library data elements, data collection, data conference and data use.

 

 

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Proposed Element Change 1--Users of Electronic Resources to Users of Public Internet Computers

 

 
Please submit statements supporting or opposing the proposed change in the comment section of this posting.

Proposed Change

Revise Users of Electronic Resources Per Year to Users of Public Internet Computers Per Year [WebPlus New Element #651]

Proposed Definition.

USERS OF PUBLIC INTERNET COMPUTERS (per year). Report the total number of individuals that have used Internet computers in the library during the last year. If the computer is used for multiple purposes (Internet access, word-processing, OPAC, etc.) and Internet users cannot be isolated, report all usage. A typical week or other reliable estimate may be used to determine the annual number. Sign-up forms or Web-log tracking software also may provide a reliable count of users.

Rationale

As a result of feedback from SDCs to identify changes to the FSCS survey, a majority indicated that the definition for Users of Electronic Resources Per Year should be changed to Users of Public Internet Computers Per Year. This would create a link between the current measure of Internet Terminals Used by the General Public and the number of users of those computers. This measure also has been tested in the Bertot/McClure annual Public Libraries and the Internet studies and has proved to be reportable and reliable (see: http://www.ii.fsu.edu/plinternet_findings.cfm and http://www.plinternetsurvey.org/previous.html)

 

 

 

5 Comments:

At 10:58 AM,  DEbbie said...

I am happy to say that Delaware has recently purchased the Smart Access Management (SAM)system for all the PLs, and this is a real number we can get instead of estimating a typical week and multiplying it by 52.

I know we frequently hate to say it, but......g-o-t t-o l-o-v-e t-e-c-h-n-o-l-o-g-y

At 8:04 AM,  Marianne said...

This seems fine to me!

At 1:01 PM,  ibray said...

My experience with the current data element in California is that responses are all over the map. This change makes sense, is "collectible" and ties nicely with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation efforts to support public access computing.

At 11:01 AM,  Grace said...

We in New York are fine with this.

At 12:48 PM,  Keith said...

This change is really imperative. The existing item is generating a lot of very muddy data. It sounds like the proposed item is what most of us think, or hope, we are getting.

Keith Lance

Colorado

___________________________

 

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Proposed New Element 4--Registered Borrowers

 

 
Please submit statements supporting or opposing the proposed addition in the comment section of this posting.

Proposed Addition (Endorsed by 30 states)

Number of Registered Borrowers.

Proposed Definition

REGISTERED BORROWERS. A registered borrower is a library user who has applied for and received an identification number or card from the public library that has established conditions under which the user may borrow library materials. (Output Measures for Public Libraries, 2nd edition)

Rationale

This number has been collected for many years by state libraries but not reported to FSCS. As we attempt to develop methods to identify library impact on communities, this is one measure which at least estimates the library user population.

Much as politicians consider one communication as a representation for multiple constituents, this number will document a representative core user group for library services. In addition, as remote authentication increasingly requires library barcodes for validation, [I know this is not universal and driver licenses are sometimes used], we may see an increase in registered borrowers and should document this change.

Potential concerns with this element include the question of overlap/unduplicated count. If a resident is registered at multiple libraries, they will be included in the total count multiple times. However, multiple registrations do not take away from the fact that this individual uses multiple locations and represents a service contact/demand for each.

An additional concern is the failure of systems to purge inactive, relocated, and deceased users. Introduction of this element will set benchmarks for libraries to more assertively cleanse systems. In order to adjust for those unable to do so, the question of last purge should also be introduced.

Note--In answer to the two concerns listed above, two as yet undefined "additional elements" were voted on at the December conference:

1) Resident vs Non-Resident. (Endorsed by 26 states) and

2) Purge Interval (Endorsed by 26 states). Have a suggestion on how to define either of these? Comment please.

 

 

 

3 Comments:

At 8:00 AM,  Marianne said...

Years ago, we discussed this element and the suggested "purge interval" was 5 years. That is what I have been using ever since.

I have been collecting this for 28 years and find that a large number of our libraries can't give me accurate data, even those with automated systems. Will this be useful on a national level?

As for "resident and non-resident", I question the need for collecting what essentially results in two new data elements.

At 11:10 AM,  Grace said...

We in New York ask for the number of resident and nonresident borrowers already though I don't know how accurate the data is since the "purge" issue is not addressed. There is no objection here to adding that question to the 2006 reports.

At 12:47 PM,  Keith said...

It has always amazed me that we don't include registered borrowers in FSCS. It's collected almost universally by the states.

I'm all for collecting resident and non-resident figures, but we'd have to ask for the total, too, and allow for -1's on the breakdown--at least until they had time to start collecting it if they weren't already. The non-resident borrower number could be a tremendously valuable indicator of resource sharing beyond ILL. But it's also sometimes a sign of a need for library development work--ie, a library is serving a wider area than it's getting funded for.

As for the purge interval, simply ask Is the library's registered borower file updated on an ongoing basis or has it been purged of non-borrowers within the last three years?

Keith Lance

Colorado

___________________________

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Proposed New Element 5--Home Page Views

 

 
Please submit statements supporting or opposing the proposed addition in the comment section of this posting.

Note: There was a bit of confusion at the closing session as to whether or not this proposal had enough votes to be considered for this go-around. Although a "final" vote that was cast after the polls closed (per the written agenda) was disallowed, a recount by the Elements Committee Chair revealed that there were indeed 20 endorsements, even without that last vote. So, if you like this one, get your supporting statements added to this posting. Opposed? Click on Comments and let us all know why. FN

Proposed Addition

Annual Number of Views of Library’s Home Page

Proposed Definition

ANNUAL NUMBER OF VIEWS OF A LIBRARY'S HOME PAGE. This is the number of times the library’s home page is viewed by any visitor to the library’s website. A page can be viewed more than once by the same visitor, and each view should be counted.

Rationale

There is a lot of pressure on FSCS to begin to develop output measures for electronic/digital/networked services. Despite the increasing political pressure for such measures, there are intractable difficulties associated with counting many of the things we might like to know—such as virtual visits (i.e., visits to the library’s website from outside the library). In this case, we know from attempts at collecting this figure that many libraries cannot distinguish between visitors to the library website from within and beyond the library facility. To avoid this dilemma, the proposed data element does not call for this distinction.

The library’s home page is the focus of this data element—rather than the library website—because a library home page is the lowest common denominator (so to speak). Many, perhaps even most, libraries have fairly sophisticated websites; but, all libraries that have any website will have a home page.

This approach was chosen in the hope that it will avoid most, if not all, of the potential complications created by libraries using different types of web statistics software. The belief is that all, or at least the overwhelming majority of, libraries should be able to ascertain this figure, and that, if they cannot at present, they can make arrangements to do so without unjustifiable hardship.

Thus, this measure is regarded as a realistic proxy for a more desirable, but more difficult to obtain, figure—annual number of visits to the library’s website.

 

 

 

6 Comments:

At 10:49 AM,  DEbbie said...

Although there is much controversy on this subject, it is a good starting point, and is a number everyone can get.

Eventually...maybe members of Integrated Library Systems can get breadth and depth information regarding web and electronic resources use. Our agency has not "gone live" yet (spring of 06)and I am not totally familiar with all the "slice and dice" capabilities of the system yet.

At 8:05 AM,  Marianne said...

I was talking with a director of one of our larger libraries recently, and he says they are experiencing a real up-swing in "virtual use" of the library. This is a good, relatively easy way to document that use.

At 4:36 PM,  Anonymous said...

We need a way to capture the use of the library as a "virtual place", that demonstrated that today's library provides service beyond it's physical frame.

At 10:57 AM,  Grace said...

We in New York have no objection to the addition of this data element to the 2006 reports.

At 12:42 PM,  Keith said...

I agree with the other comments that this is an item whose time has come. It should be possible for any library with a website to obtain this figure.

Keith Lance

Colorado

At 4:20 PM,  Sue said...

I guess I'm still unclear on why we care about views or visits to a library's home page. What does this number tell us and funding agencies?

Can we compare the number of visits to library x and library y's home pages in any kind of a meaningful way without taking into account the types of services offered online at each library?

___________________________

 

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Proposed Element Change 3--Library Cooperative

 

 
Please submit statements supporting or opposing the proposed changes in the comment section of this posting.

Proposed Changes

Clarify definition of Library Cooperative (re Interlibrary Relationship Code --WebPlus New #200) by addressing issues of legal establishment of the cooperative and its having its own budget and staff.

Proposed Definition

LIBRARY COOPERATIVE. A library cooperative is an organization that meets all of the following criteria:

The cooperative is a legally-established, non-profit entity.

The participants or members of the cooperative are primarily libraries that are bound together by formal written agreements.

The cooperative has its own budget and staff who are paid to do the work of the cooperative.

The cooperative serves multiple institutions (e, libraries, school districts) that are not under its administrative control.

The scope of a cooperative's activities includes support of library and information services by performing such functions as, but not limited to, resource-sharing, education and training, planning, and advocacy.

Rationale

There is some concern that the existing definition of a library cooperative included in the definition of the Interlibrary Relationship Code is a problem. This is a particular concern as ALA embarks upon an IMLS-funded National Leadership Grant project to establish a survey of library cooperatives.

 

 

 

2 Comments:

At 10:54 AM,  Grace said...

We in New York have no objection to the addition of this data element to the 2006 reports.

At 12:41 PM,  Keith said...

This definition definitely needs to be clarified. Please revise the final version of this proposal to match the definition adopted by the ALA-based, IMLS-funded Library Networks, Cooperatives, and Consortia definition of a cooperative. We ought to be consistent with that.

Keith Lance

Colorado

___________________________

 

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Proposed Element Change 2--Databases

 

 
Please submit statements supporting or opposing the proposed changes in the comment section of this posting.

Proposed Changes

DATABASES (Webplus New # 454 )

Revise current definition as follows:

Add "licensed" to the title and the definition;

Add clarifying text regarding acquisition requirements or formal agreement; and,

Report database counts by source of access (e.g., local; state government or state library; other cooperative agreement within state or region)

Proposed Definition

LICENSED DATABASES (# 454)

Report the number of licensed databases (including locally mounted or remote, full-text or not) for which temporary or permanent access rights have been acquired through payment by the library, or by formal agreement with the State Library or a cooperative agreement within the state or region. A database is a collection of electronically stored data or unit records (facts, bibliographic data, abstracts, texts) with a common user interface and software for the retrieval and manipulation of the data. Note: The data or records are usually collected with a particular intent and relate to a defined topic. A database may be issued on CD-ROM, diskette, or other direct access method, or as a computer file accessed via dial-up methods or via the Internet. Subscriptions to individual electronic serial titles are reported under Current Electronic Serial Subscriptions (WebPlus New #456). Each database is counted individually even if access to several databases is supported through the same vendor interface.

Number of Licensed Databases acquired through payment or formal agreement:

54 a. Local _________

54 b. State (state government or State library) ___________

54 c. Other cooperative agreements (or consortia) within state or region __________

Rationale

Continued confusion reported by SDCs regarding the distinction between licensed databases and freely-available Internet resources requires clarification of data element 454, Databases.

Work has been done in distinguishing data reporting for commercial services (licensed databases) and those Web resources freely available. Please see:

E-Metrics Instructional System (EMIS) catalog at http://www.ii.fsu.edu/emis/catalog.cfm?display=subject&subject_key=4 for supporting information for this recommended change.

NISO Z39.7, Information Services and Use: Metrics & statistics for libraries and information providers--Data Dictionary, section 4.10 for approved definitions for electronic collections http://www.niso.org/emetrics/current/category4.10.html .

 

 

 

4 Comments:

At 4:07 PM,  ibray said...

This is a useful change that should result in more consistent responses.

At 10:28 AM,  Anonymous said...

Adding the word "licensed" really clarifies what we are intending to collect. Also, seperating it out by source will also help. In Delaware, the state pays for 100% of the licensed resources, and this will give us the ability to pre-fill this cell and make life easier for the PLs.

At 10:45 AM,  Grace said...

We in New York have no objection to the addition of this data element to the 2006 report.

At 12:39 PM,  Anonymous said...

This change is welcomed by Colorado libraries. It will be much easier to report in this manner. The one issue that might create a problem is a situation where database costs are shared. For instance, the state doesn't pay for the licensed databases outright, but provides some support for a discounted group purchase. In such circumstances, which category would the databases be counted in? I don't have an easy answer to that question, but it might be 'Whoever's name the contract is in.'

Keith Lance

Colorado

___________________________

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Invitation--Proposed Elements--Changes and Additions

 

 
Hello to one and all.

This posting is intended to be one of two "invitations" you will see asking you to begin submitting statements either supporting or opposing this year's proposals for data element changes and additions. You should be getting an "invitation" via the listserv as well.

You may submit your Pro or Con statements through regular email directly to me, Frank Nelson, by replying to the listserv invitation. The listserv invitation will have all five (5) proposals attached in a single Word document. I will then compile your comments for consideration at the March Steering Committee meeting and in preparing the ballot for 2006.

Or, as long as you are here at http://fscsfaq.blogspot.com, review each of the five (5) Proposal postings immediately preceding this one and then contribute your thoughts via the Comments section for each proposal's posting. To contribute click on Comments at the bottom of the posting then scroll down and select "Other" where it asks you to Chose an Identity. Enter your name in the "Name" field; the "Your Web Page" field may remain blank. Now just type in your comment and when you finish click on Publish Your Comment. It's that simple. I don't mind saying that I hope most of you will chose to use the blog. It should be about 5 times easier to keep track of things.

Please submit your statements by one of the above methods by February 15th. I am looking forward to a thoughtful and productive discussion.

Cordially,

Frank

 

 

___________________________

 

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Survey for all State Data Coordinators

 

 
Please take a few minutes to respond to this survey. The questions are based on the evaluations submitted after the last three FSCS Professional Development Conferences. The Steering Committee would like to meet your needs as much as possible, and your input will help us to do that.

Survey link:

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.asp?u=175911961220

 

 

 

1 Comments:

At 12:18 PM,  Kit Keller said...

At the June meeting of the Steering Committee, we will review the survey results and use this information to finalize sessions for the December conference. Thanks to all who took the time to respond!

___________________________

 

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

December 2006 Conference Information

 

 
This year's (2006) FSCS Professional Development Conference - Washington, DC

This year's conference will start at 8:30 AM on Tuesday, December 5, 2006, and end at 11:30 AM on Thursday, Dec. 7. Orientation for new SDCs is scheduled for 1:00 4:00 PM Monday, December 4.

The conference will be held at the Embassy Suites Hotel, Washington, DC Convention Center (http://www.washingtonconventioncenter.embassysuites.com)

Here's what our very own Kim Miller has to say about this hotel: The hotel is new and is really nice. The location in close to Chinatown. Metro (actually, Metro Center - redline and transfer to blue/orange) is 1 city block away (entrance in Grand Hyatt). Great restaurant inside hotel and restaurants not far from hotel. There is also a bus that runs down the mall and K street with a stop about a block from the hotel.

 

 

 

2 Comments:

At 1:56 PM,  Anonymous said...

Greetings from Utah! I am the new SDC at the Utah State Library and excited about this conference. Will there be a "formal" registration for this conference?

Juan Tomás Lee, Library Consultant/SDC

Utah State Library Division

250 N 1950 W, Suite A

Salt Lake City, UT 84116-7901

Phone (801)715-6769

Fax (801)715-6767

jtlee@utah.gov

At 12:17 PM,  Kit Keller said...

A formal invitation will be sent via email, as we get closer to the December date. You'll be able to register online, and will get directions about arranging for travel.

__________________________

 

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

 

 
The Urban Libraries Council’s publication ‘The Engaged Library: Chicago Stories of Community Building’ http://www.urbanlibraries.org/files/ULC_PFSC_Engaged_0206.pdf

looks like it could be a good resource for ideas for new measures. Especial measures in the outcome area. The problem is how to measure connectedness. Are there items that you now collect or could collect that together would measure connectedness? Let me know what you think of the report and the idea of trying to develop a measure of community engagement.

Neal

 

 

 

1 Comments:

At 1:27 PM,  ibray said...

We do count library programs and attendance, but this excludes programs sponsored by other groups that use library facilities. I hesitate to suggest another data item, but you did ask!

Cheers,

Ira

__________________________

 

Friday, June 09, 2006

Data Collection FAQs

 

 
The following are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding the FSCS data collection process.

Who do I call when I have trouble submitting my data to Census?

If you have a technical question concerning WebPLUS, call Cynthia Ramsey at Census (800) 451-6235 or email govs.pls@census.gov

Who do I call if I’m having trouble with an FSCS definition?

If you have a data elements question, call your mentor or another SDC on the Steering Committee. (See http://www.nclis.gov/statsurv/surveys/fscs/steeringFSCS/Steering_Committee.pdf)

Our state does not have a “carrot” like state aid to entice all public libraries to submit data. What do other states do to encourage 100 percent reporting?

As tax supported governmental institutions, public libraries should be willing to annually report their fiscal and service activities. Some states encourage prompt reporting by offering awards for early filers or rewards to those who file by the deadline. Other states have statutory requirements that public libraries report annually. Some SDCs contact the library’s governing board directly if no report is filed by the due date. It is essential to inform new library directors of reporting requirements and the importance of providing timely and accurate data.

What do I do about libraries that don’t report?

Data for non reporting libraries should be reported as “-1.” These libraries should not be deleted from your state’s file for the year that they do not submit data.

I hate going over the edit checks for each library! So often I explain the same thing (e.g., no phone) over and over again.

Try using edit report by edit check. You can then write an explanation once and easily copy and paste it to the relevant group of libraries.

Who develops the edit checks anyway?

The Economic Statistical Methods and Programming Division (ESMPD) within the Census Bureau evaluates data and develops parameters used to identify responses outside of expected ranges. The FSCS Census staff then ensures that these edit checks are incorporated into the WebPLUS software. WebPLUS edit checks must be responded to before you can submit your data.

When do I use “-3”?

For administrative entities records, use “-3” to indicate there is no telephone at the library and to indicate the library has no Web address. For outlet records, use “-3” to indicate there is no telephone at the outlet. It must also be used for the square footage of a bookmobile.

How many states use Informata to collect data?

Currently 38 states subscribe to “Collect” and 25 to “Connect” for all libraries in those states. One state subscribes to “Connect” for a particular set of libraries.

How soon should I add new FSCS data items to my collection tool?

Add them as soon as possible.

 

 

 

1 Comments:

At 4:49 PM,  Gerry Rowland said...

Nicely done, Al.

I'm looking forward to the minutes of the June SC meeting.

GR

Iowa

__________________________

 

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Downloadables--Current Interpretation

 

 
Hello all,

This year the question asked most often during the data gathering cycle was How do we count downloadable audio books? There was quite a bit of discussion about this at meetings and via email with the following interpretation being pretty much agreed upon for the current reporting cycle:

Expenditures for video and audio downloadables (electronic) should be included in #354 Electronic Materials Expenditures.

As for the items themselves, downloadable videos and audios should not be counted at all, since definitions #452 Audio and #453 Video only allow the counting of "physical units" and do not clearly authorize the counting of "electronic units" as does #451 E-books, which specifies both.

While it is generally agreed that counting downloadables is quite desirable, it would be best to wait until the counting of "electronic units" is specifically authorized, most probably in definitions #452 and #453.

As something to consider, the FSCS Policy and Procedures For Review of Data Elements allows the Data Elements Subcommittee to "[edit] the definition and notes fields of the data elements to correct grammar or spelling errors or to clarify meaning." The "downloadable" issue might be resolved by editing definitions and note fields as an instance of routine clarification, the edits then being agreed to in general session at the December conference.

The simplest remedy for allowing downloadables to be counted is to add the term "electronic unit" to definitions 452 and 453, thereby clarifying that downloadable audios and videos may be legitimately included in the total for each type of material. Perhaps note fields could be added to both definitions, as is done in 451 E-books, to clarify the appropriateness of including "electronic units" in the totals for each format and also making "inclusion in the catalog" a criterion. No new elements would be required!

If that is too much editing (or perhaps not enough), then of course other solutions to this problem could be presented as fully developed proposals for the 2007 Ballot.

Are there any states that have already clarified this issue in their survey instruments? If so, let us know about it by responding to this message or go to the FSCS Blog at http://fscsfaq.blogspot.com/ and add your comments the blogged version of this message.

Frank M. Nelson

Library Consultant

Idaho Commission for Libraries

1820 E 17th St Ste 130

208 525-7211

frank.nelson@libraries.idaho.gov

 

 

1 Comments:

At 4:57 PM,  Juan Tomás Lee said...

Question: If a library subscribes to a database where users can download audiobooks (e.g. NetLibrary), does the library report one more licensed database in definition #454 OR (if we agree to edit the definition) report individual units in definition #452?

The key would be to see if each individual unit is catalogued and/or represented in the library's catalog.

__________________________

 

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

2007 Element Changes, Additions, Deletions?

 

 
Greetings fellow SDCs,

I see that most everyone has submitted their 2005 data via WebPlus. I know I am sure glad to have that little task checked off my list for another year. There are only a couple of days left for Group 2 (Aug 3) and of course Group 3 has until August 31 to get 'em in.

Now is a good time to see to it that this next cycle's data-gathering forms have been updated to include the one new element, Registered Borrowers, and the approved changes to the Licensed Databases element (#454) and Users of [a library's] Internet Computers (#651) that were passed in April.

It is also time for us all to begin thinking of possible changes, additions, and deletions to our current set of data elements. Consider this to be an invitation to submit full proposals for consideration at the September Steering Committee meeting (Sept 18) and also at the annual conference in December.

According to our FSCS Policy and Procedures for Review of Data Elements, full proposals shall:

Identify the proposed addition, change, or deletion;

Provide a clear rationale for the proposed action;

Identify unfamiliar methodologies for local libraries and SDCs; and

Provide new or revised definitions and notes or a proposal to delete an existing definition.

Also remember that in order for it to be placed on the March-April ballot, the first hurdle a proposal must clear is that it must be endorsed by at least 40% of the participating SDCs attending the conference. By the way, in order to clarify when the polls close, at the June meeting the Data Elements Committee suggested that Development Cycle Procedure #5 be amended as follows:

"By 5 pm of the second day of the December conference, the proposal must be endorsed by at least 40% of the participating SDCs attending the conference. . . ."

One more thing for now--

I for one have not forgotten the December 2004 conference where we agreed in principle to a "three state test" before adding a new element to the inventory. I think that is a very good guideline for us all to keep in mind when considering changes and additions. That being said, I look forward to your suggestions and comments.

Cordially,

Frank M. Nelson

Library Consultant

Idaho Commission for Libraries

1820 E 17th St Ste 130

208 525-7211

frank.nelson@libraries.idaho.gov

 

 

 

1 Comments:

At 1:51 PM,  Anonymous said...

Even though it may be that no changes will be authorized in 2007, we still ought to be discussing what is needed to make the FSCS database as robust and as timely as it can possibly be.

__________________________

 

Monday, November 13, 2006

Elements--Draft Proposals for 2006

 

 
I'm sure all of you have heard that there is a moratorium in effect with respect to adding or changing any elements in either the FSCS or the StLA surveys. That does not mean however that we cannot continue to have our traditional, spirited discussions about elements that we want to see changed, added, or deleted; and we certainly don't have to wait for the December meeting.

As a group we don't seem to be much for blogging, at least not yet. So I'll be watching my email as well as this blog spot in the next few days for responses to the following posting. For the moment, I'll just copy below the three draft proposals that I currently have in hand.

The subjects of these proposals should be familiar to all, namely Homepage Visits and Audio/Video Downloads. Please note that current definitions for audios, videos, and e-books are included at the end of this posting for your convenience.

Comments?

New Element Draft Proposals - 2006
Proposed Addition #1

Annual Number of Views of Library’s Home Page

Proposed Definition

ANNUAL NUMBER OF VIEWS OF A LIBRARY'S HOME PAGE.

This is the number of times the library’s home page is viewed by any visitor to the library’s website. A page can be viewed more than once by the same visitor, and each view should be counted.

Rationale

There is a lot of pressure on FSCS to begin to develop output measures for electronic/digital/networked services. Despite the increasing political pressure for such measures, there are intractable difficulties associated with counting many things such as virtual visits. In the case of virtual visits many libraries cannot distinguish between visitors to the library website from within and outside the library facility. To avoid this dilemma, the proposed data element does not call for this distinction.The library’s home page is the focus of this data element—rather than the library website—because a library home page is a common denominator. Many, perhaps even most, libraries have fairly sophisticated websites; but, all libraries that have any website will have a home page.This approach was chosen in the hope that it will avoid most, if not all, of the potential complications created by libraries using different types of web statistics software. It is believed that all or at least the overwhelming majority of libraries should be able to ascertain this figure. If they cannot at present, they can make arrangements to do so without unjustifiable hardship.This measure is regarded as a realistic proxy for a more desirable, but more difficult to obtain, figure—annual number of visits to the library’s website.

Count Methodology

It will be necessary to have software capable of reporting the library’s Web home page view count.

States with Experience Collecting this Element

Colorado

Virginia

Proposed Addition #2

AUDIO MATERIALS [Electronic Units]

Report only those audio electronic units (or downloads) that are items the library has selected as part of the collection and are accessible through the library’s Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC). Include downloadable audio books in this category. Note: An electronic unit or download is a title, either leased or owned, that is accessible through the libraries catalog. The count reported here would be the number of individual titles of this classification, not the number of physical units.

Note: By counting titles instead of units the potential for over counting will be minimized. In the case of the OverDrive titles, for example, each title can be divided into parts, which can be downloaded separately so as to be easily copied onto CDs and other devices. However, the OPAC records refer to the title-level content and that is the number that should be reported.

Rationale

Audio downloads are now commonly made available to public library users. Since this is a new library service, many libraries have requested that information on the availability of downloadables be collected.

Often libraries obtain licenses to download books through membership in regional cooperatives. If libraries report audio downloadable books under the current audio materials sections, that count will be greatly increased for some libraries with no obvious explanation available.

Audio downloads should be treated in the same manor as the appearance of electronic books in libraries was, that is with a separate category for a new library resource.

Count Methodology

Each library would report the number of titles of audio materials available for download that are available through their library’s catalog. Since this would be a number available from the vendor, the data gathering burden should be minimal.

States with Experience Collecting this Element

?

[Wisconsin and Idaho have added the item to their 2006 surveys]

Proposed Change #1

Change the definitions of Audios and Videos to capture downloads.

Audios and Videos [452 & 453] Add “electronic units” or “downloads” to the definitions for both Audios and Videos so that new electronic formats can be included in the totals for these types of materials.

Rationale

Downloaded audios and videos should be counted in the totals regardless as to whether or not the subtotals for this specialized delivery system are reported separately.

The simplest remedy for allowing downloads to be counted is to add the term "electronic unit" to definitions 452 (audios) and 453 (videos), thereby clarifying that downloadable audios and videos may be legitimately included in the totals for each type of material. Note fields would be added to both definitions, as is done in 451 E-books, to clarify the appropriateness of including "electronic units" in the totals for each format and also making "inclusion in the catalog" a criterion. It would also be made clear that titles would be the new standard for counting these types of material thereby heading off any confusion caused by Overdrive-like partial download options.

This alternative requires no new elements. No new elements were created for tapes, CDs, DVDs etc. in part because there is general agreement that while the delivery method may change, the format itself remains the same, i.e., one still listens to audio views video, or reads text. Whether something comes on a CD or tape (physical unit) or as an electronic unit and is downloaded to the computer is beside the point. One still needs a device to play the tune, see the movie, or in the case of e-books, read the text.

It has never been deemed necessary to collect circulation data by type of material at the national level. Many if not all libraries that offer access to downloadable audios and videos are including usage data in their annual circulation. While it would be nice to see the impact of new formats on usage patterns, this level of detail is really beyond the scope of FSCS.

Count Methodology

Count titles available to library users that are accessible through the library’s online catalog (OPAC) and add to the totals for audio or video as appropriate.

States with Experience

?

Note: the definitions for audios, videos, and E-books are provided below.

Audio - These are materials on which sounds (only) are stored

(recorded) and that can be reproduced (played back)

mechanically, electronically, or both. Include records,

audiocassettes, audio cartridges, audio discs (including

audio-CD-ROMs), audio-reels, talking books, and other

sound recordings.

Report the number of physical units, including duplicates.

For smaller libraries, if physical unit data are not available,

count the number of titles. Items packaged together as a

unit (e.g., two audiocassettes for one recorded book) and

checked out as a unit are counted as one physical unit.

Video - These are materials on which moving pictures are recorded,

with or without sound. Electronic playback reproduces

pictures, with or without sound, using a television receiver or

monitor. Video formats may include tape, DVD, CD-ROM,

etc.

Report the number of physical units, including duplicates.

For smaller libraries, if physical unit data are not available,

count the number of titles. Items packaged together as a unit

(e.g., two video cassettes for one movie) and checked out as

a unit are counted as one physical unit.

E-books - are digital documents (including those digitized by

the library), licensed or not, where searchable text is

prevalent, and which can be seen in analogy to a printed

book (monograph). Include non-serial government

documents. E-books are loaned to users on portable

devices (e-book readers) or by transmitting the contents to

the user’s personal computer for a limited time. Include ebooks

held locally and remote e-books for which permanent

or temporary access rights have been acquired. Report the

number of physical or electronic units, including duplicates,

for all outlets. For smaller libraries, if volume data are not

available, the number of titles may be counted. E-books

packaged together as a unit (e.g., multiple titles on a single

e-book reader) and checked out as a unit are counted as one

unit.

Note: Under this category report only items the library has

selected as part of the collection and made accessible

through the library’s Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC).

 

 

 

12 Comments:

At 3:14 PM,  Marianne said...

This year we are collecting WiFi sessions at the request of some libraries. I'm not suggesting this as a possible data element... yet. Just something to watch and think about.

At 12:00 PM,  Anonymous said...

The count of annual library home page will have many flaws, including:

--Counts of home pages set to appear by default in browsers on public PC workstations or in computer training labs

--Public PC workstations that present that page every few minutes based on session inactivity timeouts

--It will miss counts of visits to library pages other than the home page that patrons have bookmarked

--A "page visit" count may be produced by "robot" crawling programs used by search service indexers (and by spammer mailing address harvesters!)

...in other words, they have little meaning when comparing one library to another...so why make this part of FSCS?

At 8:12 AM,  Anonymous said...

The [electronic unit] methodology will need to be made very clear. As noted, many libraries offering this service do so as part of a cooperative consortia, so all titles are available in the catalog of each library. So does the methodology suggest that a cobimed electronic unit count of 3000 titles would be reported 47 times by all 47 members of a consortia?

Also, someone may point out that MARC records for titles that libraries make available via Overdrive is an optional, fee-based service from Overdrive. Many Overdrive sites may have opted to present access via their Overdrive interface alone, and did not pay extra to drop MARC records into their regular catalog. So under this methodology, would those sites get to count those titles or not?

At 3:56 PM,  Juan Tomás Lee said...

To avoid the duplicate count mentioned before, would it make more sense to add the count of electronic units in the StLA Survey (State Library Agencies)?

At 10:43 AM,  Neal Kaske said...

Library home page counts may have many flaws but we need to start to address the problems associated with collecting data for this basic indicator of electronic use of libraries. If we wait until there is no noise in a count we would not have door counts today. For example, when library staff members go in and out of the library they are included in gate counts. We know there are other factors that add to an over counting of this indicator of use but that does not prevent us from collection and using this data in meaningful ways.

If we start now to collect library home page accesses we will be able to learn and hopefully understand the level of noise and accommodate it. We believe this learning curve to have a very steep slope but that should not stop us from starting to learn how to document, adjust, and use this measure.

Neal Kaske

At 4:26 PM,  Anonymous said...

Also worth a thought that there ARE libraries that have not adopted an OPAC, yet participate in downloadable audio circ - should the ability to count be skewed by the method one uses to keep track of circulation?

-Tom Ladd, NHSL

At 4:15 PM,  Suzanne Reymer said...

I'm still unclear on what we learn from visits to library home pages other than a library has a web page and x number of people find their way there on purpose or by accident.

I think that the underlying question that we're really seeking to answer here is how do we justify libraries' expenditures on online and electronic resources, including website development and maintenance. It could be that this is related more to outcomes than numbers.

At 11:59 AM,  Suzanne Reymer said...

I'd like to add another comment related to what anonymous said. And could people please identify themselves when posting comments?

Adding elements to FSCS data collection seems to presume a value in comparison. Even if the numbers are valid, what is the value in comparing hits to a library's web page? Say two libraries each record 150K hits to their web page in a year. Does this mean that the web pages are of comparable value and utility? I think the assumption behind comparing numbers is that they are comparable across libraries. What does it mean that Library A's website gets 150K and Library B's only 75K? Does it mean that Library A's website is twice as good or worth twice the money?

I've heard the argument before that it's similar to gate counts. I don't know. Just because we collect one dodgy statistic doesn't seem to be a good argument for adding more.

I tend to look at statistics from the use perspective. Before we add elements that may be popular (some MT librarians are asking for web page counts), I think we need to be able to explain what they mean and why this particular number is important. In other words, if a librarian goes in to his/her funding agency to report web site hits and one of the commissioners asks, So what? What's the suggested response?

At 6:46 PM,  ibray said...

There is useful background material on the Library Web Page Views issue at the E-Metrics Instructional System web site created by John Bertot at FSU and supporting cast:

http://www.ii.fsu.edu/emis/index.cfm

At 1:26 PM,  Geri Hutchins said...

I agree that homepage views is a nebulous statistics. It can show how much a website is being use, the people are aware of the library's website and find it useful. If they're simply checking hours opens, etc.

As libraries make more and more of their resources available via the web, we also need to find a way to demonstrate their "virtual" location as well as their physical location.

We're counting how many people use library public acess computers, but what does that really mean? We count circ, gate count and a lot of other physical location statistics.

But we're not accounting for use of library resources outside the physical limitations of the building. If we offer electronic books and databases and I never have to walk in the door then you can't count me in any stat other than Circ in our our current statistical collection. I'm not in gate count.

Homepage views are not going to tell us a big picture, but they will give us a slice of that picture just like everything else we count.

I hate to be cliche...but everyone else counts homepage views, I bet most of the cities count them. What shouldn't libraries be able to demonstrate that as well.

At 1:54 PM,  Anonymous said...

Gerry Rowland, Iowa

It would help to have more information about Overdrive.

Looking at their site, it looks as though audiobooks are listed by title. Does it not make more sense to count the total number of items (copies) to which the library subscribes?

I am not clear on checkout procedures. I see that an audiobook can be downloaded a chapter at a time, but is that after the entire book has been checked out? It would be a problem to count each downloaded chapter as a circulation, IMHO. I don't have a problem counting each unit (audiobook) as a circulation.

I actually think it would be best to leave the definition alone for now. I have a problem with circumventing the definitions process. Not allowing the counting of each unit to which a library subscribes, even as a note, is something that needs to approved by the majority. We're talking big bucks here for a subscription to Overdrive, let's not rush into a definition that libraries will hate.

At 4:46 PM,  Anonymous said...

So, any decisions on the audio download change(s)?

Gerry Rowland, IA

12/12/06

__________________________

 

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

2006 Conference Followup

 

 
Thanks to all presenters and participants for making our 2006 FSCS Professional Development Conference a success. I know that I learned a lot from the sessions I attended, and am truly grateful to the willing and able presenters.

In early 2007 you will receive a request to respond to a survey about this year's and next year's conference. Please take a few moments to thoughtfully respond; your input helps to improve the quality of our conference sessions.

As I start my year as Chair of the Steering Committee, I invite you to contact me with concerns and/or suggestions throughout the year.

 

 

 

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