Library Evaluation: A Casebook and Can-Do Guide / Edition 1

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Bringing together library and information science faculty and practicing library managers, this work combines some of the most exciting concepts and methodologies of library evaluation with the practical experiences of those working in the field. A variety of approaches (e.g., focus groups, TQM) are thoroughly described, then illustrated with actual case studies. These cases can serve as inspiration and models to library managers and other individuals responsible for evaluation, as well as to those who aspire to library management positions.

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Editorial Reviews

Wallace and Van Fleet (library and information science, U. of Oklahoma) present papers by a variety of librarians and information science specialists; many of the papers were derived from Kent State U.'s S:OLE project presentations. These articles place case studies within the context of recent evaluation methodologies, detailing the successes and failures of a variety of library evaluation processes. Areas of investigation include evaluating reference and information services, evaluating collections, measuring organizational effectiveness, and evaluating the virtual library collection. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781563088629
  • Publisher: Libraries Unlimited
  • Publication date: 1/28/2001
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 237
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

DANNY P. WALLACE is Director and Professor, School of Library and Information Studies, University of Oklahoma, Norman. He is co-editor of Reference & User Services Quarterly and received the 2000 ALISE Award for Teaching Excellence in the Field of Library and Information Science Education.

CONNIE VAN FLEET, Professor, School of Library and Information Studies, University of Oklahoma, Norman, has received the ALA/RASD Margaret E. Monroe Library Adult Services Award. She serves as Councilor-at-Large for the American Library Association and is co-editor of Reference & User Services Quarterly.

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Table of Contents

Figures/Tables/Appendices xiii
Preface xv
Introduction xix
1 The Culture of Evaluation 1
Environmental Impact: The Systems Approach 1
Rules for Understanding Systems 2
Ranganathan's Five Laws 2
Characteristics of Evaluation 3
Nurturing the Evaluation Habit 4
The Evaluation Action Plan 4
Resources 10
2 Measuring Organizational Effectiveness 11
Effective Organizations 11
The Subjective Character of Organizational Effectiveness 12
Criteria for Effectiveness at the Organizational Level 13
Models of Effectiveness 14
Goal Model 15
Critical or Crucial Constituencies Model 17
Resource Model 18
Human Resource Model 19
Natural or Open Systems Model 19
Decision-Process Model 20
Customer Service Model 20
Summary 21
Resources 22
Method @ A Glance: Total Quality Management 23
Case @ A Glance: Implementing Total Quality Management 24
Case Study 2.1 Implementing Total Quality Management 25
Setting 25
Impetus 25
Method 27
Preparatory Activities and Preliminary Decisions 27
The Steps to Implementation: Trust [right arrow] Training [right arrow] Teams [right arrow] Tools [right arrow] Targets 28
Findings 34
Interpretation 37
Actions 37
Evaluation 38
A Learning Organization 38
A Systems Approach to Management 38
An Open-Book Management and Knowledge Management 38
Work or Life Issues 38
Resources 39
Method @ A Glance: Focus Groups 41
Case @ A Glance: Conducting Focus Groups 42
Case Study 2.2 Conducting Focus Groups 43
Context 43
Definition 43
Advantages of Focus Groups 43
Limitations of Focus Groups 44
Use of Focus Groups 44
Process Model 45
Problem Definition 46
Audience Identification 46
Moderator Selection 46
Question Formulation 47
Participant Selection 47
Focus Group Sessions 49
Data Interpretation 49
Report Generation 49
How Were the Data Used? 51
Planning Your Own Focus Group Study 51
Resources 51
Method @ A Glance: Using Quantitative Data 52
Case @ A Glance: Gathering and Presenting Comparative Data 53
Case Study 2.3 Gathering and Presenting Comparative Data 54
Impetus 54
Finding Library Data 55
Selecting Nonlibrary Data 58
Conclusion 59
Resources 60
Method @ A Glance: Standard Measures 61
Case @ A Glance: Measuring Library Services 62
Case Study 2.4 Measuring Library Services 63
The Measurement Conundrum 63
Setting 63
Ohio's Public Libraries 63
Impetus for the Measurement Project 64
Procedure 65
How Do You Do It? 70
And Finally 71
Resources 71
Appendix 2.4.1 Measuring Library Services 1998: A Joint Project of The State Library of Ohio and the Ohio Library Council--Reference and Other Questions 73
Reference and Other Questions 73
Test Yourself Reference or Other? 77
3 Evaluating Reference and Information Services 79
Introduction 79
The Literature 79
Evaluation 80
Procedures 81
General Methodologies 82
Quantitative Studies 82
Qualitative Studies 82
Obtrusive--Unobtrusive Studies 83
Specific Methodologies 83
Conclusion 84
Resources 85
Method @ A Glance: Standardized Survey 87
Case @ A Glance: Using the Wisconsin--Ohio Reference Evaluation Program 88
Case Study 3.1 Using the Wisconsin--Ohio Reference Evaluation Program 89
Setting 89
Today's Reference Environment 89
Background of the WOREP 90
Using the WOREP 91
Method 91
Findings and Interpretation 93
Patron Profile 93
Success Levels 94
Factors Associated with Less-Than-Successful Questions 95
Patron and Librarian Reports of Problems 97
Factors Associated with Obtaining Exactly What Was Wanted 98
Patron Learning 98
Action 100
Evaluation 101
Resources 102
Method @ A Glance: Unobtrusive Observation 103
Case @ A Glance: Assessing Reference Behaviors with Unobtrusive Testing 104
Case Study 3.2 Assessing Reference Behaviors with Unobtrusive Testing 105
Introduction 105
Background 105
Setting 106
Methodology 107
Step 1 Goals and Objectives 107
Step 2 Libraries to Be Studied 107
Step 3 Develop Evaluation Form 108
Step 4 Develop Reference Questions 110
Step 5 Identify and Train Proxies 110
Step 6 Engage in a Reference Transaction 111
Step 7 Analyze Data 111
Findings 111
Interpretation 114
Conclusion 115
Resources 115
4 Evaluating Collections 117
Introduction 117
Types of Collection Evaluation Techniques 118
Data-Gathering Techniques 119
Extent 119
Efficiency 121
Quality 122
Performance 123
Effectiveness 126
Conclusion 127
Resources 127
Method @ A Glance: Qualitative Criteria 129
Case @ A Glance: Using Qualitative Criteria to Evaluate Reference Resources 130
Case Study 4.1 Using Qualitative Criteria to Evaluate Reference Resources 131
Introduction 131
Evaluation of Reference Sources 132
The Reference Collection As a Whole 134
Conclusion 137
Resources 137
Method @ A Glance: List Checking 138
Case @ A Glance: Identifying Library Policy Issues with List Checking 139
Case Study 4.2 Identifying Library Policy Issues with List Checking 140
Introduction: The List-Checking Approach 140
Area of Study and Organizational Goals 141
Collection Development Policy 141
The Lists 142
Comparison of Lists 143
Procedure: Defining Local Application 144
What Counts 144
Findings 144
Rolling Stone 200 145
Decision Areas 151
Conclusion 151
Resources 152
Method @ A Glance: Citation/Reference Analysis 153
Case @ A Glance: Conducting a Citation Analysis 154
Case Study 4.3 Conducting a Citation Analysis 155
Introduction: Citation Analysis 155
Art History, Scholarship, and Citation Practice 155
Procedure 157
Source: Art Bulletin 157
Variables 157
Findings and Analysis of Data 157
Home Countries of Authors 158
Date of Publication 158
Subject Discipline 159
Format 160
Language 160
Country of Publication 161
Discussion, Decision Areas, and Conclusions 162
Resources 163
5 Evaluating the Virtual Library Collection 165
Introduction 165
That Was Then 166
... This Is Now 168
"On the Internet, Nobody Knows You're a Dog" 168
Levels of Evaluation 169
Intellectual Access 169
Library User Instruction 175
Physical Access 177
Patrons with Disabilities 177
Technological Access 177
Network Connection 178
Computer Workstation 178
Web Browser Software 178
HTML Standards 179
Web Server Logs 179
Internet Filters 179
Conclusion 179
Resources 180
Method @ A Glance: Rating Scale 183
Case @ A Glance: Developing Search Engine Evaluation Criteria 184
Case Study 5.1 Developing Search Engine Evaluation Criteria 185
Introduction 185
Search Engine Evaluation Criteria 185
General Criteria for Evaluating Search Engines 186
Database Criteria 187
Input Interface 188
Search Capabilities 189
Output and Display 190
Other Evaluation Criteria 192
Data Sources 192
Conclusion 193
Resources 193
Appendix 5.1.1 Evaluation Checklist 194
Database 194
Input Interface 195
Search Capabilities and Flexibility 196
Output 197
Help/Other 198
Overall Score 198
Method @ A Glance: Guidelines 199
Case @ A Glance: Creating Accessibility Guidelines for Web Page Developers 200
Case Study 5.2 Creating Accessibility Guidelines for Web Page Developers 201
The Setting 201
Impetus 201
Adaptive Workstations 202
Standards Development at Kent State University 203
Method 206
Findings 206
Interpretation 206
Action 207
Evaluation 207
Resources 207
6 The Nature of Evaluation 209
Introduction 209
The Context for Evaluation 209
The Societal Context 209
The Professional Context 210
The Institutional Context 210
The Administrative Context 211
The Functional Context 211
The Technological Context 211
The Patron Context 212
Assigning Value 212
Value and Values 212
Value and Benefit 213
Value and Goals 213
Value and Quality 214
Value and Quantity 214
Approaches to Evaluation 215
Ad Hoc/As Needed/As Required 215
Externally Centered 216
Internally Centered 216
Research Centered 217
Evaluation and Decision Making 217
The Need for Decisions 217
Authority for Decision Making 217
Types of Decisions 218
Evaluating Decisions 219
Resources 219
Bibliography 221
Index 233
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