ERIC Number: ED422962
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1998-Sep
Reference Count: N/A
A Different Approach to the Evaluation of Research Libraries. Research Brief No. 6.
Council on Library and Information Resources, Washington, DC.
In 1996, the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) supported a project at Rutgers University that applied new economic theories to measuring how well research libraries fulfill their service roles. This summary draws on the original proposal and the final report from the project's directors. The evaluation of library performance is problematic, in part because the principal products of a library are services that lead to an intangible result: the acquisition of knowledge. The Rutgers research team argues that a different theoretical approach, drawn from economics and operations research, will provide a better understanding of the efficiency of academic research libraries. Their analytical tool is called Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA). This new approach represents the convergence of two streams of theoretical research--the economic study of production functions and the application of an optimization technique called linear programming. The use of DEA to determine the efficiency of libraries, guidelines for using DEA, advantages of DEA over traditional evaluation methods, and the use of benchmarking are discussed. Results are summarized from an application of the technique to 95 U.S. academic research libraries furnished by the Association of Research Libraries (ARL). (AEF)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Council on Library and Information Resources, Washington, DC.