Publication Details

Margie Jantti and Brian Cox, Measuring the value of library resources and student academic performance through relational datasets, Proceedings of the Library Assessment Conference : Building Effective, Sustainable, Practical Assessment, 25-27 October 2010, Baltimore, Maryland, 2011, 8p. Original conference details here.


In a period of economic turmoil, resource scarcity, and increased competitiveness in the attraction and retention of students, the ability to demonstrate the value gained by utilising library resources is becoming increasingly important. Students have unprecedented choice over where they will study, what they will study, and importantly the source, content and format of learning materials they use; and can effectively bypass the Library. These wide-ranging choices have in effect repositioned the student from being an active though still highly dependent learner, into a consumer of information. This shift in behaviour comes with a learning cost, and it has become a battle that is fought daily in tutorial classes and lectures, as academics and librarians try to encourage students to make better use of high quality sources of information, acquired or subscribed to by the library (at considerable cost). For these reasons, it is more important than ever for libraries to demonstrate to students and stakeholders the value of using the library’s resources and services. The challenge, however, is that the value delivered by libraries is often considered to be of a social, educational or cultural value; values which are difficult to measure. As an academic library, the focus is on the transformative power of information; and the question to be answered is: does a student’s academic performance improve as a result of using information resources made available by the library? UWL has commenced a project designed to produce the information it needs to unambiguously demonstrate the contribution it is making to institutional learning, teaching and research goals. It is anticipated that data obtained from the project will demonstrate that those students who do not use the UWL information resources are at an academic disadvantage. The project centres on the integration and interrogation of a series of discrete datasets, e.g. student performance, student attrition, student demographic data, and borrowing and electronic resources usage data. The project will allow UWL to identify whether a correlation exists between usage of Library resources and academic performance.