Measuring the Value of Library Resources and Student Academic Performance through Relational Datasets

Margie Jantti, Brian Cox

Abstract


Objective – This article describes a project undertaken by the University of Wollongong Library (UWL) to identify whether a correlation exists between usage of library resources and academic performance.

Methods – A multidimensional approach to systems design was implemented, requiring collaboration between among the library, university administration, Performance Indicator Project team (PIP), and information technology services. The project centers on the integration and interrogation of a series of discrete datasets containing student performance, attrition, demographic, borrowing, and electronic resources usage data. PIP built a cube for the library that links usage of library resources to student demographic data and academic performance (the “Library Cube”). Other cubes will be linked later.

Results – While initial reports are rudimentary and do not yet incorporate data on e-resource usage, results are favourable in demonstrating the value of using the library information resources in coursework. Based on the data generated to date, students who borrow library resources do outperform students who do not. Early trend data shows up to a 12-point difference in grades.

Conclusion – The Library Cube signals a new milestone in the UWL’s quality assessment journey. Well-established measures of effectiveness and efficiency will be further complemented by measures of impact and value, allowing the library to step even closer to the goal of having effective and valued partnerships with the university community to realize teaching, learning, research, and internalization goals.

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