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What’s In It For Us: Assessing the value of participating in association-sponsored research projects.

Donovan, Carrie and Dill, Diana and Haas, jeanann and Webster, Berenika and Withers, Clare (2020) What’s In It For Us: Assessing the value of participating in association-sponsored research projects. In: 8th Bi-Annual Library Assessment Conference, 29 October 2020 - 18 March 2021, Virtual.

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Purpose and goals The purpose of this poster is to present our experiences with participating in two multi-institutional, association-sponsored research projects (the Association of Research Libraries’ Project Impact and the Ithaka S+R study on Teaching with Primary Sources) and the value of such participation to the institution. Both projects, though with similar goals, were structured very differently. The potential for cross-institutional assessment projects to bring value to our organizations and make an impact on our institutions is undeniable. When these projects are designed and structured by scholarly societies or professional associations, are the benefits equally as impactful? Through collective project management and individual critical reflection, the members of these project teams identified benefits and pitfalls of engaging in the respective programs currently, as well as potential implications for future practice. Design, methodology, or approach ULS librarians on both project teams engaged in a meta-analysis of their experiences in the two initiatives. We • Outlined the elements of the design, implementation, analysis, and reporting structures for two association-sponsored assessment initiatives: • Identified advantages and pitfalls of engagement in collaborative assessment programs for academic libraries • Reflected on lessons learned and opportunities for further engagement as a result of participation in these studies Findings With so many opportunities for assessment at the local level, librarians and library leadership must take into consideration the many factors involved in committing to a multi-institutional assessment program. Such initiatives require participation typically from more than one individual from each institution and support through direct funding, travel for project teammates, or re-allocation of staff time to focus on assessment-related activities. Upon accommodating basic funding requirements, the individuals involved in the projects must level-up their own understanding of assessment practices through regular training and adjust their standard work roles to allow for the time required to complete assessment tasks and meet deadlines. Project participants benefit from a supportive, flexible library environment in which work assignments can be adjusted according to project goals. Although these broad-scale assessment initiatives may be relevant to a topic of interest to the participating organization, the individuals involved do not have the opportunity in many cases to craft their own research question or develop their own methodology. The structure of the project will be established prior to the call for participation, so experiencing an iterative design process is not always possible for participants within these kinds of structured assessment programs. Practical implications or value Weighing these implications against the positive outcomes of any association-sponsored assessment project, it is apparent that the benefits outweigh the pitfalls. Librarians with little or no previous assessment experience can participate in projects like these and succeed through the professional development and scaffolded training that is provided. The impact on professional development is not just for one or two individuals, but for the development of an entire organization’s workforce that benefits from learning the strategies, practices, and habits of mind that are inherent to assessment work. Furthermore, situating an organization’s own local findings within the context of a broader initiative that connects many institutions will lend credibility and authenticity to data and results. Through structured, cross-institutional collaborations centered around assessment, librarians form partnerships and develop perspectives that will advance their own professional practice and the mission of their home institutions. Although the established nature of these studies results in some drawbacks, from this structure also emerges their primary impact: the opportunity to create sets of data that can be compared, reproduced, and communicated across institutions in order to promote the value of academic libraries.


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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Donovan, CarrieCDONOVAN@pitt.eduCDONOVAN0000-0001-7933-6487
Dill, Dianadmd78@pitt.eduDMD78
Haas, jeanannjeanann@pitt.eduJEANANN0000-0002-9021-4808
Webster, BerenikaBWEBSTER@pitt.eduBWEBSTER0000-0003-0183-3904
Withers, Clarecwithers@pitt.eduCWITHERS0000-0002-8704-2881
Date: 31 October 2020
Date Type: Publication
Event Title: 8th Bi-Annual Library Assessment Conference
Event Dates: 29 October 2020 - 18 March 2021
Event Type: Conference
Schools and Programs: University libraries > University Library System
Refereed: No
Date Deposited: 08 Feb 2021 19:36
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2021 19:55


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