Conclusion
The MINES for Libraries® data provide a critical link between electronic
resources and the value derived by users. The data have been used by library
administrators to demonstrate the value of e-resources to the various
departments within institutions so that, in tight financial times, the library can
continue to support the particular resources that are highly valued by users. The
data can be used to demonstrate that those users who gain the most value from
e-resources are those users who are attracting grants and producing more
research output. Making the link between use of e-resources and other desired
outcomes (e.g., higher GPA, retention, graduation, job placement) is within our
reach. The protocol has been implemented in an anonymous fashion and the
demonstrated value has been articulated at the departmental level, yet more
granular studies may be pursued that link e-resource use to individual
performance.
The possibility of expanding the MINES for Libraries® protocol to extend the
value and return-on-investment studies pursued through the Lib-Value project is
a promising area of investigation in the coming years. A companion article by
Mays, Tenopir, and Kaufman in this special issue of RLI articulates some of the
Lib-Value activities. Studies that relate use of electronic resources to personal
attainment and characteristics need to be implemented with great caution and
attention to the highest ethical and professional guidelines to ensure that users’
privacy is protected appropriately. Yet, if use of the content that libraries deliver
is tracked electronically, libraries are probably a much-preferred, trusted, third
party to secure ethical and professional use of such information compared to
other entities that may have stronger commercial, marketing, and
entrepreneurial interests.
1
For details on the research foundations of MINES for Libraries®, see: Brinley Franklin, “Academic
Research Library Support of Sponsored Research in the United States,” in Proceedings of the Fourth
Northumbria International Conference on Performance Measurement in Libraries and Information Services
(Washington DC: ARL, 2001); Brinley Franklin and Terry Plum, “Networked Electronic Services Usage
Patterns at Four Academic Health Sciences Libraries,” Performance Measurement and Metrics 3, no. 3
(2002): 132–133.
2
Ontario Council of University Libraries, http://www.ocul.on.ca/.
3
Scholars Portal, http://www.scholarsportal.info/.
4
Martha Kyrillidou, Toni Olshen, Brinley Franklin, and Terry Plum, “MINES for Libraries™: Measuring
the Impact of Networked Electronic Services and the Ontario Council of University Libraries’ Scholars
Portal, Final Report” (Washington DC: ARL, 2005): 10,
http://www.libqual.org/documents/admin/FINAL%20REPORT_Jan26mk.pdf.
5
An excellent follow-up study extending the original report is available by Marisa Scigliano,
“Measuring the Use of Networked Electronic Journals in an Academic Library Consortium: Moving
beyond MINES for Libraries® in Ontario Scholars Portal,” Serials Review 36, no. 2 (2010): 72–78.
6
Ibid.
RLI 271
46
The Value of Electronic Resources: Measuring the Impact of Networked Electronic Services
(
C O N T I N U E D
)
AUGUST 2010 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A BIMONTHLY REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC
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