ERIC Number: ED382206
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995
Reference Count: N/A
Studying the Cost and Value of Library Services: Final Report. Technical Report APLAB/94-3/1,2,3,4.
Kantor, Paul B.; And Others
This is the final technical report (in three parts) of a 15-month long project to study the costs and value of library functions at five major research libraries. Twenty-one services or service aspects were studied, and numerous measures of the importance or benefit of the service to the users were made. These measures were studied together to lay a foundation for the development of an economically valid scale for assessing the impact of library services. More than 500 interviews were transcribed, and an empirical taxonomy was developed for classifying the contexts and the value to users of library services. Finally, the principles of data envelopment analysis have been adapted to this situation and illustrated using representative measures of library impact. This study has established not only the characteristics of the numerous services studied, but also the fact that a single uniform instrument can be applied to study many diverse services at many libraries. Instruments and a manual for their use in replicating these studies were also developed. The long-term goal of this study is the development of a general taxonomy and metrology for library benefits, toward which substantial progress has been made, yet more remains to be done. Specific conceptual problems were identified that arise when the goal is to extract economically useful information from interview data, and points the way to further methods that will resolve these problems. Overall, it was discovered that users of library services: (1) value these services very highly; (2) have very little experience purchasing information services; (3) value the library more highly than other university-supplied services; (4) do not assign dollar estimates to the value of services which are commensurate with the cost of the services; and (5) can articulate, with proper questioning, the context and purposes which bring them to use library services. Part 1 "Models, Methods, Results," summarizes the project's findings. Part 2, "Detailed History of Project Management and Processes," provides a detailed history of project management and processes, including preliminary studies, selection of interviewers and research instruments, and delayed impact assessment. Part 3 is "A Manual for Replication of These Studies." A fourth part, appendices A-H, include: instruments and SPSS codes; open ended coding; open ended coding results tables; cost data collection forms; interviewer training manual; miscellaneous forms; focus group moderator guide; and questionnaire instructions. (MAS)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Council on Library Resources, Inc., Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Rutgers, The State Univ., New Brunswick, NJ. School of Communication, Information, and Library Studies.