Home | News & Events | Events | 2016 Events | 2016 NISO Virtual Conference | April 20: Justifying the Library - Using Assessment to Justify Library Investments

NISO Virtual Conference: Justifying the Library - Using Assessment to Justify Library Investments

Wednesday, April 20, 2016
11:00 - 5:00 p.m. (Eastern Daylight Savings Time)

System Requirements:

  • NISO has developed a quick tutorial, How to Participate in a NISO Web Event. Please view the recording, which is an overview of the web conferencing system and will help to answer the most commonly asked questions regarding participating in an online Webex event.
  • You will need a computer for the presentation and Q&A.
  • Audio is available through the computer (broadcast) and by telephone. We recommend you have a set-up for telephone audio as back-up even if you plan to use the broadcast audio as the voice over Internet isn't always 100% reliable.
  • Please check your system in advance to make sure it meets the Cisco WebEx requirements. It is your responsibility to ensure that your system is properly set up before each webinar begins. 

About the Virtual Conference

When resources are tight, it is important that everyone is able to justify the role we serve in accomplishing an institutional mission. One approach to relating the story of this value is to use data in support of that narrative.

This virtual conference will examine the many ways in which an institution can show its value and the data that can be used in support of that argument.  This might include usage statistics, patron activity, use of patron tools that support their work, traditional circulation data, or ethnographic study.

NEW! All registrants to this virtual conference will receive a login to the associated Training Thursday on Making Assessment Work - Using ORCIDs to Improve Your Institutional Assessments to be held on April 28. (Separate registration to the training event only is also available.)  If you are unable to attend the Training Thursday in person, you can view the recording of the session.


11:00 a.m. – 11:10 a.m. – Introduction
Todd Carpenter, Executive Director, NISO


11:10 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. -- Why Library Assessment?  A Look at Current Practices
Steven Bell, Associate University Librarian, Temple University and Nancy Turner, Assessment and Organizational Performance Librarian, Temple University

Higher education institutions are increasingly held accountable for demonstrating value, contributing to student success,  providing support for faculty teaching and research, and enhancing institutional reputation.   Academic librarians can contribute to that mission by paying more attention to what is being assessed and how that activity is conducted. In this session the presenters will make a case for why academic librarians should practice assessment, the promises and pitfalls of investing in an assessment culture, the data needed to successfully make a case for library investments and how a dedicated assessment position or unit within the academic library can make the difference.

Steven Bell is Associate University Librarian at Temple University libraries. He studies, writes and speaks about higher education, leadership, design thinking and user experience and educational technology. He’s a co-founder of the Blended Librarians Online Learning Community. He writes at Designing Better Libraries, a blog about design thinking and library user experiences. He authors weekly columns for Library Journal Academic Newswire, "From the Bell Tower" and "Leading From the Library". He is editor of the book “Crucible Moments: Inspiring Library Leadership” and co-author of the book “Academic Librarianship by Design”. For additional information about Steven J. Bell or links to his projects, point your browser to http://stevenbell.info​

Nancy Turner is the Assessment and Organizational Performance Librarian at Temple University Libraries. She coordinates assessment activities at the Libraries and University Press and helps to support data-driven decision-making and a culture of assessment throughout the organization. She serves as convener of the ACRL Assessment Discussion Group (http://www.ala.org/acrl/aboutacrl/directoryofleadership/discussiongroups/acr-dgassess) and maintains a blog, Assessment on the Ground (https://sites.temple.edu/assessment/ )

 11:45 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. -- Why is this Assessment Different from All Others? Assessment of Archives & Special Collections

Jocelyn Wilk, University Archivist, Columbia University

Archival assessment enables data-driven decision making, fosters workplace transparency, and promotes enhanced and effective access to collections and services.  Using the experiences gained during a year-long user survey at Columbia’s Rare Book & Manuscript Library this presentation will discuss how evaluating information gathered from users, collections, and discovery tools can improve both professional practice and user experience.

12:15 p.m. - 12:45 p.m. -- Leveraging and interpreting library assessment data - pulling the wheat from the chaff
Elizabeth Brown, Director of Assessment and Scholarly Communication, SUNY-Binghamton

Assessment data can be collected from a multitude of sources from within and outside your library. It’s not just about the size of collections, or number of reference transactions, or hours a library is open. This presentation will review some of the key places assessment information can be gathered and provide strategies to creatively think about assessment data collection for your library.

Elizabeth (Beth) Brown is currently the Director of Assessment and Scholarly Communications at Binghamton University Libraries and also serves as subject liaison for Chemistry, Physics and Astronomy, Mathematical Sciences and Materials Science. She received a BA and MS in Chemistry, and an MLIS in Librarianship from the University of Texas at Austin.

12:45 p.m. - 1:45 p.m. -- Lunch

1:45 p.m. - 2:15 p.m. -- Information Resources: Justifying the Expense

Ken Varnum, Senior Program Manager for Discovery, Delivery, and Learning Analytics, University of Michigan

Discovery layers have changed the landscape of resource use for many libraries through their goal of centralizing access to distributed content through a single interface. Yet, for many libraries, services like Google, Mendeley, and others, provide the access point for much resource use. In this presentation, Ken Varnum will discuss assessment tools such as COUNTER and the Open Discovery Initiative that libraries can use to understand resource usage, as well as discuss emerging efforts to evaluate the impact of that use through broader campus-wide learning analytics processes.

Ken Varnum is the Senior Program Manager for Discovery, Delivery, and Learning Analytics at the University of Michigan Library. Ken's research and professional interests include discovery systems, content management, and user-generated content. From 2007-2015 he was the Web Systems Manager at the U-M Library, where he managed the library's Drupal-driven website. ALA Editions will publish his most recent book, Exploring Discovery: The Front Door to a Library’s Licensed and Digitized Content later this month. He previously wrote Drupal in Libraries (2012), compiled The Top Technologies Every Librarian Needs to Know (2014), and edited The Network Reshapes the Library: Lorcan Dempsey on Libraries, Services and Networks (2014). You can learn more about Ken at http://varnum.org and find him on Twitter at @varnum.

2:15 p.m. -- 3:15 p.m. -- Case Studies: Part One  

We're not in this alone: Working with campus partners to integrate the library into students' academic experience

Jan Fransen, Service Lead for Researcher and Discovery Systems, University of Minnesota; 

University of Minnesota Libraries have been collecting data to figure out who our users are and how they use our services for years. When we started working with our Office of Institutional Research in 2011, we were able to take our data to another level. Now we are gaining insights into who tends to benefit most from discovering and understanding library resources, and finding ways to reach out more effectively to people who haven't found us through other means. We are in the early stages of work with the University's Academic Advisers, meshing our work with what our campus partners are doing to identify who is thriving, who is struggling, and how we can move the needle in the right direction for as many students as possible.

Janet (Jan) Fransen is the Service Lead for Researcher and Discovery Systems for University of Minnesota Libraries in the Twin Cities. In that role, she works across Libraries divisions and with campus partners to provide library systems that save researchers' and students' time and improve their access to the materials they need to get to their next steps.

A Library-Based Metrics and Impact Core
Kristi Holmes, Director, Galter Health Sciences Library, Northwestern University

Galter Health Sciences Library launched the Metrics and Impact Core (MIC) in 2014 to serve data reporting needs of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine community. The MIC offers expertise in areas like bibliometrics, data visualization, information systems, alternative metrics, and more. The MIC serves everyone from individuals to large groups on needs related to successful dissemination strategies, publication tracking and reporting, assessing research impact, and communicating research impact to audiences. The MIC provides an extensive range of services for stakeholders. This presentation will introduce the MIC, highlight some of our favorite resources, and present examples of available reports and services.

Kristi Holmes, PhD, is the Director of Galter Health Sciences Library, Director of Evaluation for Northwestern University Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute, and associate professor of Preventive Medicine in the Division of Health and Biomedical Informatics at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Dr. Holmes focuses her research efforts on the development and application of information standards to enable interoperability and data exchange. She leads a number of efforts related to metrics and assessment and frequently lectures on health research impact topics. She seeks to define new roles and opportunities for the modern biomedical research library in an increasingly informatics and data-driven environment. You can find her on Twitter at @kristiholmes.

3:15 p.m. -- 3:30 p.m.  Afternoon Break

3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. -- Case Studies: Part Two


Planning the Plan: Collaboratively Aligning Strategic Plan Initiatives and Assessments
Starr Hoffman, Head, Planning and Assessment, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

In Fall 2015, Starr joined the UNLV University Libraries as the Head of Planning and Assessment; she arrived to find a major survey underway and a new strategic framework needing an assessment plan. In the following six months, she lead the collaborative creation of a diverse portfolio of assessments for which all of the Libraries have taken ownership, and that directly tie to the university’s strategic goals. Starr will detail the process of crafting the assessment plan and strategies for involving all areas of the Libraries in its development.

Starr Hoffman (PhD, MLS, MA) is the Head of Planning and Assessment at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Libraries. Her contributed volume, Dynamic Research Support for Academic Libraries, which addresses emerging methods of supporting faculty and student research in both public and technical service areas, was recently released by Facet Publishing and ALA. When she’s not playing with data in R or Tableau, she sometimes writes at:https://geekyartistlibrarian.wordpress.com/

 Why measure that, when we need to show this?

Carl Grant, Chief Technology Officer and Associate University Librarian for Knowledge Services, University of Oklahoma 

Public research institutions and their libraries are facing real challenges when they’re asked to substantiate their value through the use of data. Things that are easily measured don’t necessarily show the real value contribution made. Carl’s talk will start by examining what we should be measuring and the steps being used at the University of Oklahoma to move in that direction. It involves everything from the University Mission Statement, campus IT infrastructure and data governance/policies to discussions of the metrics involved as well as how our tech suppliers need to work with us to facilitate these plans.

Carl Grant is Associate Dean for Knowledge Services & Chief Technology Officer at the University of Oklahoma Libraries. Previously he was Chief Librarian and President of Ex Libris North America. He’s active in ALA, ACRL, LITA and NISO. Mr. Grant holds an MLS from the University of Missouri at Columbia.

4:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. Roundtable Discussion 
Moderated by: Todd Carpenter, Executive Director, NISO


SAVE! Register for multiple events.

If paying by credit card, register online.

If paying by check, please use this PDF form.

Registration closes on Tuesday, April 19, 2016 at 4:00 p.m. Eastern.

Registration Costs

  • NISO Member
    • $185.00 (US and Canada)
    • $225.00 (International)
  • Non-Member
    • $245.00 (US and Canada)
    • $285.00 (International)
  • Student
    • $80.00

Additional Information

  • Cancellations made by Wednesday, April 13, 2016 will receive a refund, less a $35 cancellation. After that date, there are no refunds.
  • Registrants will receive detailed instructions about accessing the virtual conference via e-mail the Friday prior to the event. (Anyone registering between Monday and the close of registration will receive the message shortly after the registration is received, within normal business hours.) Due to the widespread use of spam blockers, filters, out of office messages, etc., it is your responsibility to contact the NISO office if you do not receive login instructions before the start of the webinar.
  • If you have not received your Login Instruction e-mail by 10 a.m. (ET) on the Tuesday before the virtual conference, please contact the NISO office at nisohq@niso.org for immediate assistance.
  • Registration is per site (access for one computer) and includes access to the online recorded archive of the conference. You may have as many people as you like from the registrant's organization view the conference from that one connection. If you need additional connections, you will need to enter a separate registration for each connection needed.
  • If you are registering someone else from your organization, either use that person's e-mail address when registering or contact nisohq@niso.org to provide alternate contact information.
  • Conference presentation slides and Q&A will be posted to this event webpage following the live conference.
  • Registrants will receive an e-mail message containing access information to the archived conference recording within 48 hours after the event. This recording access is only to be used by the registrant's organization.