By: Steve Borrelli
Focus on Assessment: Fall 2018 Assessment Update
With the fall term underway, I thought this would be a good time to give an update on what the Assessment Department has planned for this semester, and there’s lots to tell you about.
For starters, Bikalpa Neupane is our new graduate assistant. Bikalpa is a 4th year Ph.D. candidate in College of Information Sciences and Technology, studying human-computer interaction and artificial intelligence. His initial work (described below) is to develop views into historical circulation.
The Library Assessment and Metrics Council (LAMC) completed its work on the Assessment Archive in the spring. The archive aims to provide a place for you to upload documents related to local assessments to improve the libraries’ ability to tell our story and to serve as a repository of assessment projects to provide ideas, guidance, and contacts for when you’re considering developing an assessment project and want to get some ideas on how to go about it. Over the summer, we’ve worked to populate it with Assessment Department projects, and we’re starting to see projects from colleagues around the libraries too. We’re approaching 20 projects to date, so take a look when you have a chance and consider submitting a project you’ve completed.
In addition to the projects described below, we’ll be consulting on a number of other projects, and have two job enrichment opportunities in the works. We look forward to getting these finalized and moving forward so we can take on additional projects and further enhance organizational capacity for assessment.
Data Gathering Week will run this fall from Monday 10/15 through Sunday 10/21. I plan to send a couple of reminders out as the dates approach.
Fall 2018 Assessment Projects:
Communicating the Results of the Ithaka Faculty Survey – The Libraries administered a local version of the Ithaka Faculty Survey between March and April. This survey has a series of questions about how faculty discover and access research materials, issues around scholarly communications and conducting research, data management, and teaching practices, as well as a forward-looking market research section that has some really interesting questions and results.
Since receiving the results in May, we’ve been working to visualize the results using Tableau. Lana Munip developed filterable visualizations for each question, available on the intranet. Over the next couple of weeks, we plan to schedule a series of brown bag meetings to review the sections, hopefully with the help of those who are closely tied to the programming around these sections. The first of these will be at noon on Fri. 9/28 in the Dean’s conference room and over Zoom https://psu.zoom.us/j/3283054988. Stay tuned for more on this.
Investigating Emotional Connections to the University Libraries: exploring motivations for utilization and support – The Assessment Department and the Development and Alumni Relations Department are partnering to host 10 focus groups with students, parents of current students, and donors. The goal is to learn more about why students use the library, what their parents think the library is about, and to investigate emotional connections to the library to inform the development of a cohesive message that the Libraries Development Board members can use when working with potential donors.
Needs Assessment of Political Science Graduate Students – This partnership between Social Science Librarian Andrew Dudash and the Assessment Department will conduct a focus group study of incoming Poli. Sci graduate students, to investigate the extent of their understanding of how the libraries can help them, and to better understand their needs and interests to inform support and programming plans.
Assessing a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) environment and the viability of portable chargers as an alternative to adding additional outlets – This study is a partnership between the Knowledge Commons and the Assessment Department. As the Collaboration Commons (currently under construction) will function as a BYOD space, we’re interested in assessing if BYOD will meet student needs. We plan to conduct an observational study, integrate flip charts in the new Paterno 128 space adjacent to Starbucks, and survey students about their laptop usage and needs. Since the conversion of Paterno 128 did not include adding additional outlets, and the Libraries are providing portable chargers, we thought we’d take a look at what students think about these, too. This study will span most of the semester.
Libraries Website Top Level Language – This usability study will use card sorting to identify students’ preferred grouping and labels for the top-level navigation links (i.e., Services, Research, About, Ask). The testing will take place online via our library website as well as in person at UX Cafe during the semester.
Visualizing Historical Circulation– This project is about enhancing organizational access to data and informing decision making. Bikalpa aims to develop multiple views into historical circulation with the aim of assisting Collections Services and Strategies Librarian, Julia Proctor, and others involved in collection development look at circulation history in new and interesting ways. The plan is to develop views of LC circulation, user type, and location by timeframe. This is a rather data-heavy project requiring deep knowledge of our data and tools. This project would not be possible without the cooperation and support of I-tech and Lending Services.
There is a lot of information here. Feel free to reach out with questions or comments.