BOSTON— January 14, 2005— At the Midwinter Meeting of the American Library Association, leading library community organizations, including hundreds of libraries in North America, the GeoLib Program at Florida State University, and Sirsi Corporation, today announced the Normative Data Project for Libraries (NDP). The goals of this cooperative effort are to compile transaction-level data from libraries throughout North America; to link library data with geographic and demographic data on communities served by libraries; and, thereby, to empower library decision-makers to compare and contrast their institutions with real-world industry norms on circulation, collections, finances, and other parameters. NDP data and reports will be available online in the second quarter of 2005. Information on NDP and related resources are now available at www.librarynormativedata.info.
“Libraries today must find ways to optimize operations, maximize resources, enhance services, extend ‘market' penetration, and serve ‘customers,'” said Patrick Sommers, Sirsi chief executive officer. “Having access to real-world data on trends and dynamics impacting a broad spectrum of libraries means that library community leaders can conduct benchmarking, manage collections, prepare budgets, choose facility sites, and make other decisions with greater insight than ever before possible.”
More than 700 library outlets — representing approximately 300 North American library systems with combined annual income of more than $340 million and combined annual circulation in excess of 150 million items — are contributing data to the project. Data for 10.5 million unique titles and 30 million copies are contained in these libraries' collections, which are valued collectively at more than $1 billion.
Additional libraries continue to be added, with plans to have data from approximately 500 library systems and 2,500 library outlets in the NDP database. “We're very pleased to be partnering with leading libraries in the U.S. and Canada on this strategically important project for the library community,” said Sommers. “And Sirsi is equally pleased to be partnering with the GeoLib Program at Florida State University.”
“For more than a decade, the GeoLib Program has been focused on bringing to bear the power of geographic and demographic information for library decision-makers,” said Christie Koontz, PhD., director of GeoLib. “Why is geographic and demographic information so important for libraries? Because, just like other businesses, libraries need to know who and where their customers are,” said Koontz. “Now, with the Normative Data Project, another dimension is added — library decision-makers can view and analyze the actual behavior of library users.”
According to Greg Hathorn, the Sirsi vice president who is leading development of NDP, “The most important difference between the NDP initiative and other sources of information on libraries is that it is not survey-based data. NDP is based on detailed transaction-level, operational data maintained day-to-day in libraries' integrated library systems. In other words, NDP doesn't just provide information on libraries. It reveals what actually goes on inside libraries.”
“For example,” Hathorn continues, “there are many sources that provide total circulation figures for libraries, but they provide no insight into what materials are being circulated. NDP will provide a broader understanding of libraries and their operations than previously possible by providing — even down to the call-number level — what materials are being circulated where and to whom.” (No individual-specific data is gathered or maintained by NDP, so as to protect the personal privacy of individual library users.)
Library leaders and other organizations, companies, or individuals interested in accessing data and reports from NDP will be able to do so online at www.librarynormativedata.info beginning in the second quarter of this year. Top-level statistics for the library community will be available free of charge, along with a range of valuable resources. Access to NDP's full reporting and analyses capabilities will be provided on subscription.
GeoLib is a research program of the Florida Resources and Environmental Analysis Center (FREAC), which is within the Institute of Science and Public Affairs (ISPA) at The Florida State University (FSU). GeoLib's mission is twofold: first, to improve access to digital geographic information for library planning; and, second, to apply marketing research theories in solving real-world library problems. The program's Web site (www.geolib.org) displays easy-to-use geographic information of relevance, as well as library planning information for wide audiences such as library researchers, librarians, and policymakers. GeoLib is supported by professionals from many disciplines experienced in creatively solving problems using advanced computing resources and geographic information systems. Many work within the university and institute, while others are experts from the public and private sector.
Founded in 1979, Sirsi Corporation develops, sells, and supports a comprehensive integrated suite of software solutions for meeting the information management and sharing needs of libraries and library users around the world. From the open, evolutionary integrated library system technology in the Sirsi Unicorn Library Management System… to leading-edge data analysis and intelligence tools in Sirsi Director's Station… to leading-edge solutions such as Sirsi Rooms 2.0 for library users seeking unparalleled access to the world of knowledge… Sirsi and its partners provide the broadest array of information management products and services for the library community. Sirsi solutions serve more than 10,000 libraries in the Americas, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia-Pacific. For more information about Sirsi, please see www.sirsi.com.