What Do We Collect and Why? Conducting a Self-Study to Improve Data Collection Practices

Document Type

Conference Proceeding



Conference Title

Library Assessment Conference

Publication Date



This paper describes a self-study the University of Mary Washington Libraries conducted to examine our data collection practices. A small working group was formed to interview all full-time library staff about the data they routinely gather and challenges they experience when collecting and using library data. The results were used to compile a data inventory spreadsheet that contains detailed information about 81 library metrics. The findings were also used to improve data collection practices in several key areas, including automating data collection that was previously gathered manually, simplifying data collection tools, and centralizing where data files are stored. Consequently, the libraries are now better positioned to make effective use of the data collected about our library resources and services.


The entire Proceedings (2016) is available at: https://www.libraryassessment.org/past-conferences/2016-library-assessment-conference/2016-proceedings/.

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This compilation is copyrighted by the Association of Research Libraries. ARL grants blanket permission to reproduce and distribute copies of this work for nonprofit, educational, or library purposes, provided that copies are distributed at or below cost and that ARL, the source, and copyright notice are included on each copy.

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