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Taking the numb out of numbers

Anthony McMullen (Baron-Forness Library, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, Edinboro, Pennsylvania, USA)

The Bottom Line

ISSN: 0888-045X

Article publication date: 4 November 2014




The purpose of this paper is to provide insights and commentary into issues encountered in maintaining and assessing library technologies and technology-based services with limited budgets and with limited personnel.


Uses real-world experiences, data and examples gleaned from the evolution of baseball metrics to propose alternative methods of assessing library resources and services.


Traditional methods of measuring success in baseball proved to be insufficient in telling the entire story behind the numbers. The same is true of libraries where librarians have been very good at gathering numbers, but very poor at using these data to the greatest advantage.


This paper examines the parallels between the baseball and library worlds. It uses anecdotes gleaned from popular media to illustrate the similarities in the number-driven aspects of these institutions. It suggests that libraries take a path similar to that of baseball in developing new measures to paint a more accurate picture of their value and return on investment.



McMullen, A. (2014), "Taking the numb out of numbers", The Bottom Line, Vol. 27 No. 3, pp. 86-88.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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