Performance Measurement and Metrics

ISSN: 1467-8047

Article publication date: 1 September 2006



Banwell, L. (2006), "Editorial", Performance Measurement and Metrics, Vol. 7 No. 3. https://doi.org/10.1108/pmm.2006.27907caa.001



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited


It is a bumper issue this time, with which to round off Volume 7, and consists of seven papers and two book reviews. Most of the papers again showcase contributions to PM6: the 6th. Northumbria International Conference on Performance Measurement in Libraries and Information Services, which took place in August, 2005, in Durham UK. Again there is one Keynote paper, followed by five seminar papers and one paper which sits so well alongside them in terms of content, that it could have been given in Durham too. The overall theme of this issue is methodology and its application, with particular emphasis on the development and use of standards. And again the papers are based in geographical contexts worldwide, with contributions from Germany, Estonia, the USA, Australia and the UK.

Roswitha Poll’s Keynote paper presents and discusses theory and application of standardization in relation to library services and their quality, as seen through the development of the work of ISO (the International Standards Organization). Standardization involves establishing rules about procedures and products. The particular challenge of the electronic information environment is its constant and rapid change. The paper examines the extent of international consensus on data to be collected and indicators to be used.

Peter Shepherd is Director of Project COUNTER (Counting Online Usage of NeTworked Electronic Resources), which is aiming to develop international Codes of Practices for recording and exchanging online usage data for different categories of content. The paper reviews the increasing use of COUNTER usage statistics in UK academic libraries which began with analyzing the use of on-line journals and are now providing the basis for developing performance measures in libraries. The development of COUNTER’s Codes of Practice is traced.

Clare Creaser’s paper provides a useful overview of UK academic library user survey methods, which provide the evidence to be used for monitoring and managing library services, and building the standards described in the previous two papers. The paper describes the work of LISU at Loughborough University, UK, which has included analyzing the survey results themselves and investigating the benchmarking based on large scale regularly conducted surveys for SCONUL (UK Society of College, National and University Libraries), and using the LIBQUAL+ survey resources. Anu Nuut’s paper provides a review of the development of practice and application of standards in Estonian research libraries.

In their paper, Wanda Dole and her co-authors report the results of a year long study on the impact of assessment on library decision making in nine small to medium sized libraries in the USA. The study replicates the methods of, and compares its results with those of the study undertaken in 2001-2002 by Susan Beck, and presented at PM5 in 2003, which was carried out in larger and more research-based libraries in the USA. Dole et al. conclude that Beck’s method is transferable to a different type of library, and that similar findings result. John Harer’s paper was not presented at PM6, but compliments the work of Dole et al. so completely, that it rightfully belongs in the collection of papers in this issue. The paper’s focus is the very small college library, and it describes use of the LibQUAL+ survey in this context. It discusses the pros and cons of applying the survey in a very small library – for example, the improved response rate attributed to familiarity with individual staff members.

From Debra Rosenfeldt of the State Library of Victoria, Australia, comes a paper based in the Australian public library sector. She describes the process and results from a large scale study which evaluates the impact of public libraries in the context of strengthening communities.

By the time you read this, I shall have retired from Northumbria University. I have thoroughly enjoyed my fairly brief association with this Journal as its editor, and my rather longer association with library performance measurement and evaluation research at Northumbria. I extend my very best wishes to my successor editor.

Linda Banwell

Related articles