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Monday, October 1, 2012

What about faculty and staff?

One of the main goals of this project is to tie student usage of libraries to academic success measures such as GPA and retention. However, one question we get a lot is what about faculty and staff? Does our data demonstrate any usage patterns from these user populations?

The data we gather certainly does not discriminate towards any particular type of U of M Internet ID. We gather all of them and don't remove any based on whether they are a student or not. So, in other words, of the 59,722 unique Internet IDs we collected in the Spring semester 2012, how many of those represented faculty and staff? Can we get at that data?

Thanks to the U of M Office of Institutional Research, yes we can! The following table shows usage percentages for user populations other than students for Spring 2012:

Staff typeUsage percentage
Grad Assistants93%
Civil Service23%

When sharing this data, people usually are amazed that we have registered such a high percentage of faculty use, or they are amazed that 100% of the faculty don't use the library. Some people are even disgusted that 100% of the faculty don't use the library. Keep in mind that we do not have a perfect count of people or Internet IDs that use the library. We can only analyze the Internet IDs we can successfully gather. There are some library services that do not require an Internet ID (reference desk transactions) and if you are using a campus IP address you can enter many of our resources through a bookmark or Google search. Having said that, we are reasonably confident that if you are a library user, at some point during the semester we are going to capture your Internet ID. However, if we had perfect usage tracking mechanisms that gathered every use for everyone at the University, these percentages would likely be higher. But I'm guessing not by much.

We can also determine what colleges and departments have the highest and lowest usage. For example, 90% of the School or Nursing faculty made use of the library during Spring 2012, while only 30% of the School of Dentistry did. The School of Dentistry's 30% number was by far the lowest percentage of use by faculty. No other school or department went below 69%. Other high percentage use for faculty was seen by the College of Liberal Arts (87%), the College of Science and Engineering (77%), and the College of Food, Agriculture, and Natural Sciences (76%).

That's all for now. We are having fun swimming in all this data!

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