Insights into LibInsight: The LibInsight Experience at two University Libraries

Data-driven decisions. Actionable Insight. Multi-variable Analytics. Dashboard Reporting. You hear these buzzwords anywhere and everywhere these days, and libraries are no exception. Gone are the days of tick sheets and anecdotal evidence.

Libraries need robust data gathering and data analysis tools to help them make everything they do… better, more effective, more engaging, more user-focused. That’s why we developed LibInsight – we want every library to have an affordable, easy to use data-gathering and analysis platform so that all these buzzwords become part of the regular library workflow.

Springshare sat down with two libraries to learn how they’re using LibInsight at their institutions to successfully streamline data workflows – City, University of London and the University of Pittsburgh.

City, University of London Libraries

by Derek Mackenzie, Head of User Services


Capture Data with LibInsight
We use LibInsight to record enquiry data at all our library help desks, as well as recording and analyzing data from other systems, e.g. circulation data, user access data (through our library swipe access points). The analytics element in particular has been useful in pulling out statistics and trends to highlight in reports – for example in papers for University committees, or data we share with staff to help review what we’ve been doing.

We’ve also introduced library school students at City to the delights of LibInsight – I’ve given a workshop session to the Masters students over the last couple of years to look at library data and analytics. I’ve used the datasets to give them an insight into how we can extract meaningful stats quickly and put together a dashboard with some questions for them to consider around trends in library use (visits, loans, enquiries) over recent years.

Enhance ILS Reporting Capabilities

We import checkout and hold transactions from our library system into LibInsight circulation datasets, as our library system allows only limited analysis of statistical data. We recently used the holds dataset to identify the most requested books in different subject areas so that we can try and source ebook alternatives as part of a project to make required readings as widely available as possible to students.

Dashboards Show the Library’s Progress

We’ve packaged some of the key library activity data into a LibInsight dashboard. This shows enquiries (in-person and online), items borrowed, usage of our online reading list and digital repositories among other measures of library activity.

We’re planning to present this to the Library Committee (which consists of senior academic staff from all the Schools at City, other Professional Services staff and Students Union representatives) ahead of their twice-yearly meetings to help give them an easily digestible snapshot of what’s been happening around the library service. It’s also intended to be a resource for our library staff to dip into and keep up to date.


University of Pittsburgh Libraries

by Berenika Webster, Director of Assessment and Quality Assurance

At the ULS, we have 20 “active” LibInsight datasets that are classified into three categories:

  • Standard ongoing data collection for reporting and administrative decision-making (e.g. instruction and outreach, gate counts, Counter, etc.).
  • Ad hoc data collection for time-limited projects (e.g. use of print journals in main and dept. libraries, head counts on our newly renovated floor, etc.).
  • APIs from other Springshare products (e.g. LibGuides and LibCal) and Google Analytics for automated pull of external data; mainly to feed a LibInsight public-facing dashboard and to embed these into various ULS websites as appropriate.

LibInsight provided us with a first step to start collecting library data into one place and allowing quick reports to all registered users.  For instance, Liaison and Instruction Librarians can produce evidence of their activities for annual reviews; service heads can see patterns of use of their services to adjust staffing levels, and COUNTER reports are used when considering adjustments in journal subscriptions. Because we need deeper visualization of our data, we appreciate LibInsight’s ability to export our data into Tableau.
We look forward to an opportunity when/if LibInsight will talk to Tableau directly!


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