Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Top Ten Questions

This is a follow-up to my previous post on conducting research in an academic library, where I hope to start crystallizing my ideas.  I feel that my MLS, MPH and post-graduate training in epidemiology have helped me prepare for "doing research".  Towards that end, the first thing to consider are the questions - what do I want to find out?  Here are my Top 10 Questions - Letterman-style:

10.  What factors most affect the quality of a collection?
9.  What are the most valid measures of the quality of a collection?
8.  What are the similarities and differences in quality between open-access and subscription-based resources?
7.  How well would the Howard White-style Brief Tests work for evaluating our collections?
6.  What are the ideal parameter-values for the Brief Tests?
5.  Would a Conspectus method of collection development be effective for our library?
4.  What is the effect of accessibility to the resources in a collection on its usage? (I'm thinking a combination of findability and marketing or awareness)
3.  To what extent does the quality of a collection impact student and research outcomes?
2.  What will be the impact of eliminating resources from our collection on student and research outcomes?
1.  What are the most valid measures of the impact or quality of the non-ejournal electronic resources (e.g. abstract & index databases, audiovisual services, etc.)?

While I actually consider some of the questions in the 5-10 range more important overall, I am compelled to look at questions 1-3 first because of the situation that our library (like many or most libraries) is facing - greater demands with less funding.  I hope to be able to provide the appropriate and valid evidence that would enable us to recommend the (heaven forbid) elimination of the least effective resources.

It will be interesting to return to these questions periodically to see the progress I (hope to) will be making.

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