Joan Stein (Formerly Principal Librarian for Assessment, Training & Marketing, Carnegie Mellon University Libraries, USA)

Performance Measurement and Metrics

ISSN: 1467-8047

Article publication date: 9 November 2015



Stein, J. (2015), "Editorial", Performance Measurement and Metrics, Vol. 16 No. 3. https://doi.org/10.1108/PMM-11-2015-0037



Emerald Group Publishing Limited


Article Type: Editorial From: Performance Measurement and Metrics, Volume 16, Issue 3.

I am pleased to have taken over as Editor-in-Chief for Performance Measurement and Metrics (PMM) from our previous Editor of nine years, Stephen Thornton. During his long and distinguished tenure as Editor of PMM, Stephen oversaw its growth in both submissions and the number of articles published per issue. He worked hard to ensure that the journal remained a truly international forum that published quality articles in the areas of performance measurement and metrics as well as library assessment. I would like to thank him for his dedication to the journal, which, along with the Northumbria Conferences, and later the Library Assessment Conferences in North America, helped to create and sustain a strong community of assessment worldwide. Stephen is now enjoying a well-deserved retirement as a proud grandfather.

Although I took over the editorship of PMM last October 2015, we were lucky enough to have already had two guest issues planned for the first two issues of Volume 16. This allowed me to slowly learn the publishing platform at Emerald and begin to assist the guest editors when needed. I appreciate the patience of the staff at Emerald and the authors who submitted papers during that time period. I assure you that I am now able to function quite well at the technical aspects of my duties as editor and I hope that those who submitted papers early in my tenure will understand my limitations at the time and continue to think of PMM when they are looking for a publisher for their work.

I received my Masters in Library Science from Case Western University in 1985 and have worked in only two academic libraries since my graduation, most notable my 29 years in various capacities at the Carnegie Mellon University Libraries in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I was provided with a great deal of support in the mid-1990s from my library director at the time, Dr Charles Lowry, to initiate and conduct assessment projects and to report these projects at the first, and subsequent, International Northumbria Conferences on Performance Measurement for Libraries and Information Services. In 2001, this conference was held in Pittsburgh, PA to bring it to a wider audience. Because several different library services reported to me first as Head of Interlibrary Loan and later as Head of Access Services, I found myself deeply interested in our customer's perspective on whether or not our services met their needs and how the services could be improved. I conducted both quantitative and qualitative studies over that time and enjoyed every minute of it, particularly implementing any requested changes and then assessing their success (we all know that this work is spiral in nature). I have always found my colleagues in this specialty field to be the most generous and interesting of my career and I am honored to help forward their work by editing this journal.

This is the first issue of PMM that I have developed entirely on my own, from inviting submissions and using other submitted works that met our standards to accepting the articles, on through to peer-review, final editing, and then publication. It has been a rewarding experience. I would like to thank those authors who responded to my invitations and submitted high-quality articles for our benefit. In this issue, we have two insightful and thought-provoking Viewpoints pieces, one by Joe Matthews and one by Danuta A. Nitecki, John Wiggins, and Nancy B. Turner. I think you will be impressed with the contents.

The Viewpoints essay by Danuta A. Nitecki, John Wiggins, and Nancy B. Turner, “Assessment is not enough for libraries to be valued” emphasizes two main points: first, that the real “customer” of our libraries is our funding organization; other library users enjoy the benefit of the library but the main client is our parent organization. As a result, our measures should be aimed toward what is meaningful to them, if any library measures matter to them at all; and second, that while there are a variety of ways that librarians can learn assessment techniques and methods, one relatively unexplored area that holds promise is creating local support groups for learning. This essay should provoke discussion among the profession.

Joe Matthews' Viewpoints essay, “Assessing outcomes and value: its all a matter of perspective,” is a long, thoughtful piece that focusses on the challenges in determining the various types of value of specific outcomes. Identifying library outcomes is not simple to do because outcomes are ultimately long-range and cannot be identified effectively if the attempt is made immediately. The question of identifying library outcomes and the value of these outcomes is shaped by what perspective of value is used. This essay is accompanied by a very useful literature review on library outcomes and library value, including all types of libraries.

In addition to these two Viewpoints pieces, we have five excellent articles describing work in library performance measurement and metrics, and assessment. In his case study, Stephen Town describes the implementation of the value scorecard at the University of York in York, England, a significant concept that he has been developing over the past few years which has now come to fruition. The results are interesting and I look forward to reading other reports of others implementing this scorecard in their own libraries. Nisa Bakkalbasi and Melissa Goertzen's research paper, “Exploring academic e-book use: part I through text analysis” provides an in-depth look, using original, creative data analysis techniques, at e-book users' search behavior, and information needs based on a significant volume of data. Their results should be of use to any library providing e-book services.

Shameen Ali, in “Key library service dimensions for serving the needs of higher education students in Namibia,” looks at the needs, perceptions, and the service gaps perceived by students using libraries in higher education institutions in underdeveloped countries through survey methodology. The conclusions of this study provide interesting insights into the difference between students using libraries in underdeveloped vs first-world nations. Dr Karen de Jager of the University of Cape Town in South Africa, combines Libqual+ “Library as Place” data with two in-house surveys and library gate count data to underscore the value to students of the library as a physical space. Her combination of different data sets makes this paper of particular interest. Dr Philip Calvert and Dr Anne Goulding discuss the paucity of library impact studies in New Zealand compared with other countries, then report on a project commissioned by the Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa and the Public Libraries Managers Network for fresh ideas to demonstrate the value of New Zealand libraries. In addition, the importance of qualitative data in order to construct “stories and narratives” of value is emphasized.

In this issue's final Viewpoints piece, New Impact Factor, Adeleke Victor Adedayo, of Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife, Nigeria, develops and presents a new citation-based metric tool as a new impact factor. The development of Adedayo's proposed new impact factor is based on his contention that not all citations within an article should be considered equally in the computation of a publication's impact factor. He believes this new impact factor compensates for the inadequacies of other citation-based metrics.

In closing, I would like to extend an invitation to the researchers and writers among you to consider submitting your work to PMM. It is one of only a few journals dedicated specifically to these subjects and to library assessment; as such, it deserves all of our support. In addition, I would like to remind you all that the 2016 Library Assessment Conference will be held October 31-November 2, 2016 at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, VA. I hope to see many of you there. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about publishing in PMM.

Joan Stein

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