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Performance Measures Webinar Q&A

Below are listed questions that were submitted during the NISO Performance Measures Webinar. Answers from the presenters will be added shortly. Not all the questions could be responded to during the live webinar, so those that could not be addressed at the time are also included below.

Feel free to contact us if you have any additional questions about library and technical services standards, standards development, or if you have have suggestions for new standards, recommended practices, or areas where NISO should be engaged.


Performance Measures: Putting Data to Use
Webinar Questions & Answers
November 14, 2008

  1. What kind of research, if any, is done on the application of the Z39.7 standard in data collection? In other words, do reporters actually adhere to the standards, and can we say that with authority?

    Answer (Dianne Carty):
    From my perspective as a state level collector of data from public libraries, I  am assured that the data reported to me adheres to the definitions, based on national level standards, that I supply to library directors.  I cannot attest that it is 100% compliant, but I am confident that we are closer than most state level collections.  I would also respond that any state level data collection project that uses these standard definitions and has a committed person in charge will have good results.  It takes time and effort.

    Having said all of that, there has been no research done that I know of—however, it does sound like an interesting research project.

  2. Our funders are challenging us to measure and predict demand for services with metrics, and I feel challenged to find statistics that show causality, not just corollary. Do you have any suggestions?

    Answer (Dianne Carty): Yes, that is a dilemma. Part of what we have been looking at here in Massachusetts is the demographics of the different communities in the state—who uses the libraries. It is easy to do in our state because practically all services and funding are defined by the municipal boundaries of the city or town.

    I would suggest looking at users and assessing the needs is one approach to take. Foreign language books, video, staff who speak a foreign language for non-English speakers; age related materials for young adults or children; items related to home-schoolers; career and employment information. I know that these are not new items or ideas, but if you look at the users of the library (who may have changed over time) you can begin to predict the needs of your library.

  3. Is the work of the Z39.7 Standing Committee limited to Performance measures as inputs and outputs, or is there work underway to include outcome/impact metrics as well?

    Answer (Dianne Carty):
    Some work has begun on the national level at the Institutes for Museum and Library Services. I imagine it will not be too long before we see some of this work leading to data collection in national survey instruments. Once there, it will be an easy transition to the Z39.7 standard.

  4. Johan, Is an similar methodology exist for the humanities, covering books (monograph)? We are wrestling with 'how to measure multiplier effect'.

  5. Have you looked at metrics for Open Access journals, etc.?

    Answer (Dianne Carty):
    If I understand your question, this is as close as the standard has come so far: 4.8.6 Free Internet Resources Emetrics

    The number of links to unique free Internet resources (web sites, digital documents, databases, electronic journals, etc.) which have been catalogued by the library in its OPAC or a database.

    Please visit the dictionary and leave your suggestion regarding Open Access journals at: http://www.niso.org/dictionary/section4/

  6. Mr. Bollen: Going beyond ebooks, what could a Mesur-like methodology do with the massive amounts of circulation data that libraries hold? We do nothing in terms of tracking patterns of book usage, and given that you're looking at online networks, this would seem to be applicable to analog networks such as this as well.

  7. Will the Mesur tools be made available for local usage?