3. Use the new Expenditures‐Focused Index for any public reports, such as in the Chronicle of
4. Begin to develop a Services‐Based Index that combines the following three factors: collections,
services, and collaborative relationships.
5. Revise definitions for collections‐related data categories currently collected and experiment with
a variety of new measures, including usage data, strength of collections, and service quality
measures to develop a richer set of variables for potential inclusion in the three‐factor Services‐
Based Index (see above).
6. Collect qualitative data to develop a profile of ARL member libraries.
The issue of fluctuating rankings in the ARL Membership Criteria Index previously published in
the Chronicle of Higher Education gave rise to the systematic investigation of the nature of the five
variables included in this Index: volumes held, volumes added (gross), serial subscriptions, total
expenditures, and professional staff plus support staff. Through the quantitative analysis performed on
the existing variables, alternative approaches were proposed. The first implementation was the
development of an ARL Expenditures‐Focused Index composed of four variables: total expenditures,
expenditures for library materials, expenditures for professional salaries, and total professional staff plus
support staff. As can be seen in Table 4 and Graph 4, the expenditures variables are much less prone to
“spikes” in any given survey year, compared to the serial data shown in Graph 2.
Thus, for the first time this year, the Chronicle of Higher Education published the new ARL
Expenditures‐Focused Index. The Expenditures‐Focused Index calculates principal component scores
and the analysis is based on all university member libraries’ data (as compared with the Membership
Criteria Index, which is based on the 34 founding members of the Association). The Expenditures‐
Focused Index is a summary measure of relative size of the investment made by ARL university
members’ parent institutions in their libraries. It has been calculated retrospectively beginning with data
Although similar to the ARL Membership Criteria Index in reflecting the investments made in
research libraries, the ARL Expenditures‐Focused Index is less affected by the rapidly changing context
of library collections.
DEVELOPING NEW INDICATORS
The new Expenditures‐Focused Index is only the first step in reshaping the ARL Statistics. ARL’s
historical descriptive statistics are being re‐examined and adjusted to reflect this changing context of
collection access and ownership.
The ARL Statistics and Assessment Committee is currently engaged in developing new
quantitative and qualitative indicators and indices to describe research library collections and services
and their contribution to research, teaching, and learning. In particular, the notion of a three‐factor index
describing collections, services, and collaborative relations is a viable proposed construct as tested with
the existing variables. Yet more work is needed to develop robust variables that withstand the passing of
time and allow us to describe the nature of libraries into the future. For example, collaborative relations
currently are being measured with two variables: interlibrary borrowing and lending. Other new ways of
14 Expenditures-Focused Index, http://www.arl.org/stats/index/.