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Statistics in Practice - Measuring and Managing


Individual papers can be downloaded below.

Copyright © 2003: the individual contributors and LISU




Presented Papers

Statistics is a Necessary Part of A Well Balanced Professional Education
Patricia Layzell Ward

"But What Does It Mean?" Using Statistical Data for Decision Making in Academic Libraries
Steve Hiller

Using Statistics to Enhance Library Performance, an Example
Anja Smit

Benchmarking for Improvement
Liz Hart

From Kaleidoscope to Common Sense
David Lightfoot

Measuring What Matters: Organisational Effectiveness by Numbers in One Canadian Public Library
Don Mills

Sampling In-Library Use
Sebastian Mundt

Electronic Journal Usage Statistics: Present Practice and Future Progress
Tony Kidd

Measures for Electronic Use: The ARL E-Metrics Project
Julia C Blixrud

Measurement-based Change in Libraries: Case Studies from an Academic Library
Joan Stein

PBA: A Statistics-based Method to Allocate Academic Library Materials Budgets
Wanda V Dole

Opportunities and Success Stories
John Sumsion

Workshop Sessions
Putting Statistics into Practice
J Eric Davies and Claire Creaser

Poster Sessions
Presentation of the Working Group on Statistics and The Public Library Statistics Yearbook, Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport, Spain
Javier Alvarez

Library Quality Assessment: LibQUAL+ TM
Julia C Blixrud

A Path Towards Outcome Indicators: A Project of the Public Libraries in Flanders
Jan Braeckman

Statistics as a Management Tool
Elin Huseby and Dagny Eide

The Effectiveness of Providing Electronic Journals in JAERI
Takashi Nozawa, Tadashi Habara, Keizo Itabashi, Masashi Ishikawa, Minoru Yonezawa

Library Statistics and Standardisation: Performance Measurement and Possibilities for Applying New Methods on Performance Measurement and Benchmarking in Estonia
Anu Nuut


The prospect of this meeting was first suggested to LISU over a cup of coffee at the 4th Northumbria International Conference on Performance Measurement, held in Pittsburgh, USA, in August 2001. Wanda Dole, chairman of the IFLA Statistics Section, was keen to take further the work on statistical training in which that section had been involved, and so the idea for a workshop and exchange of experiences was born.

The aim of the meeting was to promote the use of statistical methods for solving practical problems in all types of library worldwide. While each has its own distinctive ethos and consequent areas of concern, the different library sectors - public, academic, special and others - share sufficient common ground to benefit from experience in sectors other than their own, and in countries other than their own.

The choice of Patricia Layzell Ward to open the meeting and John Sumsion to close it was clear, and LISU staff contributed a practical workshop session. The task then began to find speakers who had experience of putting statistical methodologies into practice at real libraries, and who would be prepared to travel to Loughborough to share their experiences. All the speakers were invited to participate as having something of value from which the rest of the LIS community around the world could benefit. We are grateful to them for giving of their time (and money) to share their expertise.

The papers in this volume are included in the order in which they were presented at the meeting. Patricia Layzell Ward's introduction on the teaching of statistics in library schools across the world is followed by papers from Steve Hiller, Anja Smit and Liz Hart on academic library applications, and from David Lightfoot and Don Mills giving examples from the public library sector. Eric Davies and Claire Creaser describe the LISU workshop sessions, which comprised a mixture of short presentations and practical exercises. Sebastian Mundt's paper on the application of sampling techniques is followed by two contributions on the measurement of e-resources, from Tony Kidd on project COUNTER, and Julia Blixrud on the ARL E-Metrics project. Papers from Joan Stein and Wanda Dole offer further case studies of academic libraries, and John Sumsion concludes by giving his personal overview of library statistics.

Following the presented papers are a series of shorter contributions, drawn from the poster session at the meeting. This gave a platform for delegates to demonstrate applications of statistics in their libraries, and a further opportunity for exchange of views.

We trust that readers will find in this volume examples of the applications of statistics which they will find relevant and useful in their own libraries.

Claire Creaser



LISU would like to thank all the contributors to Statistics in Practice: Measuring and Managing; the speakers, poster presenters and delegates who made the meeting a success. I would also like to thank members of LISU staff, in particular Mary Ashworth for her work in both administering the conference and preparing most of the papers for publication; Sally Maynard for putting everything on the web, and Sharon Fletcher and Eric Davies for their invaluable advice and support throughout.

LISU would also like to acknowledge the contribution of the following organisations to the meeting:

  • IFLA Statistics Section
    Assistance with conference organisation and publicity
  • Emerald (MCB University Press Ltd)
    Sponsors of the delegates' packs, and evening Reception
  • Swets Blackwell Ltd
    Sponsors of wine for the Conference Dinner


John W Sumsion OBE Hon FCLIP MA 1928-2003
John Sumsion had already had two careers before he became Director of the Library and Information Statistics Unit at Loughborough University in 1991. His contribution to library statistics, both in the UK and internationally, including involvement with the IFLA Statistics Section, which he chaired from 1994 to 1999, and work on revising ISO 2789, cannot be over-estimated. It was typical of John that, despite his illness, he contributed fully to Statistics in Practice, and wrote his paper in good time; indeed, he was still writing articles and papers up to his death in February 2003. He will be missed.



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