Saturday, October 06, 2007

Call for Papers: "Library Data: Empowering Practice and Persuasion" (an edited volume)

Call for Papers: "Library Data: Empowering Practice and Persuasion" (an edited volume)

Librarians increasingly have access to vast amounts of data, but more important than the data itself is how it is handled, interpreted, and used.

This is your opportunity to contribute to the critical discussion concerning the theory, uses, and best practices concerning numerical evidence in libraries today.

As its working title suggests, this collection proceeds from the basic observation that library data serves two primary functions: informing decision-making and providing support for communication beyond library walls. Some data analysis projects may support both activities, but most (appropriately) primarily address just one or the other. Therefore, the finished work will include papers that focus on data-driven practice or data-strengthened persuasion, as well as studies that may speak to both.

Some topics to address might include:

*how existing data sets may be used to make a case for funding, resource, or other changes
*how "non-library" data (community demographics, economics, etc.) may relate to library trends
*interesting or non-traditional sources of data and how they may be used in library decision-making
*assessing the integrity of electronic data (web site "hits," vendor-supplied versus internal data, etc.)
*librarians for planning, assessment, data analysis, etc.: a new specialization within the profession?
*critiques of commercially available tools for data analysis
*comparing apples and oranges: data on different scales
*a crash course in statistics for non-statistician librarians
*how you have made a potentially "ho-hum" data presentation data engaging and persuasive

You may find inspiration in:

*Summary and presentation documents from the recent ACRL Education & Behavioral Sciences Section's 2007 conference panel, "Empowering Data," available at:

*Publicly available (and understudied) reports and data from the U.S. National Commission on Libraries and Information Science (NCLIS) web site:

*Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Statistics,available at:

Please send inquiries or brief proposals (of approx. 150 words) to: (Darby Orcutt, North Carolina State University

Deadline for proposals: November 19, 2007
Deadline for completed chapters: March 31, 2008

*[NB: FYI, I will be away from email for much of October and November, so please don't worry if you do not receive confirmation right away of your received proposal. -Darby]*