Submitted by Mila Rush
Outside of the actual roundtable, the activities
undertaken this year are the survey on statistics-gathering and the crosswalk
The survey essentially asked three things: 1) what bodies we provide
statistical reports to, 2) what measures not currently tracked could be useful,
3) what reports are automatically generated by ILSs (Integrated Library Systems).
It was taken over a period of four months (March to June 2001). It was printed
in the Spring issue of the ALL-SIS newsletter, posted twice on ALL-SIS listserv,
posted on lawlibdir-l listserv, and finally faxed to directors/associate deans
in June. Fifty-five responses were received. The compilation of the responses
was offered to all respondents and distributed to those interested, as well
as to the Roundtable participants.
To help visualize where there is overlap (and thus some potential harmonization)
among the questions asked by the ABA Annual Questionnaire part 3, the ARL Academic
Law Library Statistics Questionnaire, and IPEDS Academic Libraries Survey, two
crosswalks were produced. They are on Access and on Resources. The crosswalks
are printed in the Spring issue of the newsletter and mounted on the Web site
The 2001 Roundtable was held 5:15-6:15p.m., Monday, July16 at the Minneapolis
Convention Center. Sixteen members were in attendance. Marian Parker represented
the ABA Section of Legal Education Law Libraries Committee.
The Roundtable primarily focused on the results of the survey and on what currently
are under discussion about the ABA questionnaire.
About two-thirds of law school libraries responded to the survey. Not surprisingly,
all fill out the ABA questionnaire, 67% fill out the IPEDS and the GPO biennial
surveys each, 51% the ARL survey, 18% the Large Law Libraries cataloging survey,
and 1-2 responses each for 28 other surveys.
The responses to Question 2 varied from "no more" to keeping track
of "more and more" items or categories. There is some desire to have
measures that will make comparisons feasible. Of the desired measures, the most
cited is usage, e.g. in-house usage, usage of electronic resources, percentage
of collection used. Some of the others cited are salaries, library traffic,
circulation transactions, relationship between expenditures and acquisitions,
space, technology categories, fund raising, etc.
The responses to Question 3 revealed that even with the same ILS, libraries
don't always get the same types of reports. Much of what an ILS can generate
is dependent on individual libraries' decisions on what to code, and on how
accurately and consistently the coding is followed. A lot of "tweaking"
happens in order to utilize some of the ILSs' report capabilities, and of course,
some libraries find it easier to just gather their statistics manually.
The most common complaint in response to Question 4 is the lack of coordination
and consistency in the questions asked and in the definitions furnished by the
different bodies. Others are the "lack of timeliness" and no "advance
notice when new questions will be added." Lastly, compliments were received
about the simplified ABA questionnaire and our work on the issue of statistics.
The other focus of this year's Roundtable was the ABA questionnaire itself.
Marian Parker told the attendees that ABA is dropping questions 13 and 19; is
leaving unchanged 28A, 28B, 29, 30 and 34; will investigate the need to distinguish
between carrel and non-carrel seating (31 and 32); will need to look further
into 38, 40 and 41; and will further analyze questions pertaining to library
expenditures. Marian repeatedly asked the group for ideas and suggestions, both
generally and on specific questionnaire items, that she can take back to the
ABA committee. An idea that came up is for measures that prospective students
can find meaningful in comparing law schools.