The tipping point: How granular statistics can make a big difference in understanding and demonstrating value

ALIA Library

Pepper, Alison; Jantti, Margie

ALIA Information Online 2015 Conference, 2-5 February 2015, Sydney: at the edge.
The purpose of this paper is to introduce an original, quantitative approach to examining the use of library electronic resources by demographic (or 'market segment'). In turn it provides an innovative way to demonstrate and explore the value of libraries and importantly, electronic collections.
The University of Wollongong's Performance Indicator Unit (PIU), in partnership with the University of Wollongong Library (UWL), has built a data warehouse - the 'Marketing Cube' that links real time usage of electronic resources (eresources) at a title level, to student demographic data.
The Marketing Cube design provides a robust analytics framework for examining pictures of use of eresources by student demographic. For views explored, the cube reveals rich data for demographical context against number of student logins and engagement with resources in hours. Findings give rise to further questions or hypotheses, requiring further interrogation of the cube or triangulation with other available quantitative data or qualitative inquiry with faculty.
Practical Implications
An ongoing commitment to continuous improvement at a university and library executive level is critical. UWL is fortunate to have secured the support of the enterprise Performance Indicator Unit (PIU), for this second UWL performance measurement project. The Marketing Cube also exploits tested system design created for UWL's 'Value Cube' (Jantti & Cox, 2012). Considerable time has been invested anew to select priority resources and to configure them within the cube. Significant time was also spent on user acceptance testing by both the Library and PIU.
Existing research and literature has more often achieved to demonstrate the value of library collections on a qualitative basis. In contrast, the Marketing Cube offers a quantitative perspective and is focussed solely on student use of resources - the library's broadest client base. Real time use capture and weekly reporting provides UWL with a granular picture of who is using a resource and when; on demand. This contextual insight has strategic value to acquisition and renewal decisions; but most innovatively, such analytics data can inform marketing strategy and provide a method to pre and post-test impact of promotional activity.

Deakin, ACT: Australian Library and Information Association