Three major university libraries (University of Michigan, Columbia University, and University of Pennsylvania) are heavily involved in the digital collection research just described. But academic libraries are also taking part in other studies, most notably two managed by the Association of Research Libraries (ARL)--the LibQUAL+ project and the E-Metrics project.
The LibQUAL+ project, developed in conjunction with Texas A&M University during 1999-2000, is a large-scale, user-based assessment of library service effectiveness across multiple universities. Twelve ARL institutions participated in the pilot survey administration in spring 2000, using a modified version of the SERVQUAL instrument to gather data via the Web from some 5,000 library patrons. Starting in October 2000, a three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education's Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education is allowing ARL and Texas A&M to refine the questions, dimensions, and data-gathering processes, and to develop a service that ARL will provide on demand to academic libraries interested in determining their own service effectiveness.
The E-metrics project is subtitled "Developing Statistics and Performance Measures to Describe Electronic Information Services and Resources for ARL Libraries." Funded by a group of 26 ARL libraries, the project is under contract with Florida State University's Information Use Management and Policy Institute and is directed by Charles R. McClure, Wonsik "Jeff" Shim, and John Carlo Bertot under the leadership of project co-chairs Sherrie Schmidt, dean of university libraries, Arizona State University, and Rush Miller, university librarian and director.
The project has three goals:
- To develop, test, and refine selected statistics and performance measures to describe electronic services and resources in ARL libraries
- To engage in a collaborative effort with selected database vendors to establish an ongoing means to produce selected descriptive statistics on database use, users, and services
- To develop a proposal for external funding to maintain the development and refinement of networked statistics and performance measures