Mashing Up Data to Demystify User Behavior: A Collaborative Exploration
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Data collection in libraries is pervasive. How should the data be interpreted and who should do it? Learn how librarians at Gettysburg College engaged in collaborative interpretation to analyze interlibrary loan transactions, document delivery data, and turn-away reports in order to assess services and to better understand undergraduates’ research habits and preferences. In the spirit of assessment, to improve services and to justify expenditures, Access Services and Acquisitions aggregated interlibrary loan transactions, document delivery data, and turn-away reports to better understand information seeking patterns and preferences and to inform future resource allocation decisions. The project gave each respective department an opportunity to interact with and interpret data and reports that traditionally resided in one area, generally in an email or spreadsheet on the intranet. Specifically, the analysis measured relative efficiencies, i.e., availability and delivery time, compared actual and associated costs, and attempted to correlate turn-aways with ILL transactions and/or document delivery requests (we don’t want to give too much away). The presentation will cover methodological approaches to analyzing mega-data and local decisions to (dis)continue services as well as lessons learned and conclusions drawn.