The current buzz and enthusiasm around data is difficult to avoid. Whether it’s the challenges of ‘big data’, the potential of data-driven techniques, or simply the power and clarity of data visualisations; data is inescapably entwined with much of what we do, and the systems and services we provide and use.
Long before we were all swept up in this data euphoria, libraries have understood the potential and opportunities of collecting, managing and acting on the myriad sources of data they create through their systems and services. A recent survey of libraries by Mimas highlighted that the use of data to inform decision making was a top priority within the next 5 years. At the same time it is clear from Jisc’s Activity Data programme that there is a lack of viable tools and services for libraries to effectively exploit the broad range of data available.
A new project has just started at Jisc called the Library Analytics and Metrics project (jiscLAMP) which aims to enable libraries to capitalise on this data and support the improvement and development of new services (enhanced collections management, personalised services, tailored student support) and demonstrate value and impact in new ways across the institution (student attainment and satisfaction, identify changing research patterns, for example).
Besides LAMP providing ample opportunities for nice puns around shining a light onto library data, the project will be developing a prototype shared library analytics service for UK academic libraries. Initially this is being envisioned as a kind of data dashboard, bringing together disparate data sets and visualising them in an attractive and meaningful way.
The project is a partnership between Jisc, Mimas (at the University of Manchester) and the University of Huddersfield running until October this year when it will deliver a prototype service for use by the community.
While the project will establish specific analytics use-cases for the data, the project intends to initially focus on services and projects such as Copac activity data, the Library Impact Data project, JUSP, and IRUS. As the project iterates through prototypes and use-cases so the depth and breadth of data sources and services will change too.
Ultimately the project will be exploiting the potential that bringing these various services and emerging data sets together will have: unearthing new narratives and unforeseen connections. While individually these services and data sets are powerful, the opportunities for new insights and evidence grow exponentially as these data sets are brought together and interrogated as a group.
So that was a very brief introduction to LAMP.
At this point I was going to simply end this post with some of the aims and objectives of the project. But, instead I thought I’d do something a little different and give you a ‘vision’ and goals for the eventual prototype. Come October, this is what you can expect….
The vision of the library analytics and metrics project is to put data at the fingertips of librarians to improve student attainment and satisfaction and achieve new efficiencies and economies through innovative services and tailored support.
To achieve this the project will meet the following goals:
- Provide insight: Will enable analysis that provides new insights which result in new services and practices providing additional value to students and researchers
- Diversity of data: Delivers data from a minimum of three distinct data sources to meet a range of use-cases such as, improving student retention and attainment, personalised services and demonstrating value
- Sustainable: Ensure the project is based on a sustainable foundation to ensure long-term support for the academic library community
- Community based: The service will enable the library community to do things together not possible separately. Through the community advisory group users will be in from the beginning, and the prototype service will engage a minimum of 8 institutions in the initial prototype
If you would like to find out more then take a look at the project website.