Minutes of August 28, 2002 Meeting

Susan Beck, Judy Gardner, Nancy Hendrickson, Ann Montanaro, Samson Soong, Farideh Tehrani, Ann Watkins

Committee members were asked to read the revised report on e-journal survey before the September meeting. The committee will determine if it is necessary to have a discussion of the expanded or added sections at the next meeting. Sherrie Tromp, who co-authored several publications on process improvement and root cause analysis in higher education, will attend our next meeting to discuss key concepts and steps in her books. Such a discussion is deemed useful for our work in the coming year.

Samson reported that two of the goals the Public Service Council has formulated for the current fiscal year are related to committee's work: "Assess Reference" and "Assess the Web Pages." Last year, as part of a proposed review of reference services, PSC wanted to assess either the quality and/or the outcomes of reference services, in addition to longer-range planning and discussion of relevant issues. While the intended objectives later evolved, some members of PSC apparently are still interested in having a formal assessment done. Assessment of library web pages will also require considerable discussion and planning. There are a few good sources on how to prepare and implement a usability test/study and results of some web site usability tests recently done at other schools have been reported via the library literature. We will work with Web Advisory Committee to make sure the methodology and procedures used are adequate for the stated objectives and purposes.

Susan reported briefly on the research project she did during her sabbatical leave. The focus of her project was on assessment and evaluation activities and decision making at ARL libraries. She had a chance to interview many individuals, ranging from university librarians, functional directors, department heads, to team leaders, at 9 ARL libraries. To conduct these interviews, she formulated a large number of questions on assessment impact on decisions, assessment process goals, decision factors, new data measures, and technological impact on assessment process. Susan agreed to share with the Committee the list of people she talked to and the specific questions she used during her interviews. Susan is in the process of further analyzing her findings and preparing a final report.

The committee discussed the activities it would like to focus on in the coming year and set the following goals: 1) Refine the role of the Assessment Committee and identify library colleagues who possess analytical and assessment expertise; 2) Test the process improvement tool being considered with several functional areas for its applicability in the Libraries; 3) Develop criteria for assessing library services and collections; and 4) Coordinate the Libraries' participation in the ARL E-Metrics Project. In preparation for some of these activities, the Committee will look at special assessment and management techniques used by other research libraries to determine success in different service areas, e.g. the Balanced Scorecard at the University of Virginia (see http://www.lib.virginia.edu/bsc/ ).

To prepare for our participation in the E-Metrics Project, the Committee reviewed again the ARL proposed measures for different areas, e.g. use of networked resources, library digitization activities. Since a number of proposed measures are interrelated, it was agreed that we will not designate at this time coordinators for different areas to make sure required data are collected according to the definitions and established timeframe. We will revisit the necessity of doing this at a later time.

Our September meeting will be held on Wednesday, September 25 at 9:30 am and the October meeting will be held on 10/16/02 at 9:30 am.

URL: http://www.libraries.rutgers.edu/rul/staff/groups/assessment_com/minutes/assessment_02_08_28.shtml
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