Measuring library effectiveness in VTU research centers in Karnataka: a study.

Author:Chandrashekara J.

1.0 Introduction

The history of library effectiveness can be traced to 1938 in the work of Walter C Eels where he found the library having largest percent of lastly published titles is superior to one not having these titles. His main emphasis was measuring book collection on the basis availability of latest publication. Morse applied the operation research and presented a mathematical model for evaluating the library services. Most useful measures are option by processing the data to represent some part of operations like library use, book use, dependence on circulation on time, production of circulation measures, effects of retiring, in active books etc. Library effectiveness is a measure of number of related factors: goal achievement and the optimizations. Managers of academic libraries have been concerned with the question of effectiveness, and how to measure it, since the 1970s when several measures of specific services were reported in the literature. (11) Since 1973, when Orr first gained support for his work on the essential characteristics for measurement of effectiveness (i.e., appropriateness, informativeness, validity, reproducibility, comparability, and practicality) (10) there has been insufficient follow-up research on these critical aspects of performance measurement. As Abbott reports, "work on the subject has been for the most part repetitive, with little attempt to build on previous work in the development of new approaches". (4) Measuring effectiveness is not the same thing as measuring library performance. In the ever-growing literature on library performance measurement, no standardization of terminology has been established. Lynch made defines measurement as "the process of ascertaining the extent or dimensions or quantity of something," performance as "the doing of something, an activity," evaluation as "the process of determining whether something is what you want it to be," and effective as referring to "something which does well that which it is supposed to do." All four terms are combined in a succinct self-explanatory statement: "The results of measurement can be used to evaluate the performance of a library and thereby determine whether or not it is effective". (7) McDonald and Micikas (8) review the various definitions of effectiveness. As they note, there is considerable disagreement in the use of the word, library outcomes, and their measurement as an indicator of effectiveness.

2.0 Review of Literature

Looking for determinants of library effectiveness is the last of six steps that Childers and Van House (1989) (3) considered necessary in library effectiveness research. Identifying factors associated with library effectiveness is a very valuable input for library policy. In order to successfully implement benchmarking practices in library policy, it is indispensable to have a grounded knowledge of those factors which contribute to library effectiveness. (Morse, 1969) (9)

The effectiveness of libraries can be measured in many ways. Cullen and Calvert (1993) (5) investigated what key constituencies in New Zealand public libraries thought an effective library should be. They gave a list of 95 possible indicators of library effectiveness to library users, librarians, and local library body councilors. The respondents had to indicate how important all of these were in judging the performance of a public library. The most important indicators for an effective library were judged to be helpfulness of staff and competence of management. However, two other items that ranked in the top 20 for all three groups were "Extent of community awareness of library services" and "Match of library services to community needs." This shows that the role of the public library in its local community was valued highly by the respondents in the New Zealand study.

Arya and Talukdar (2010) (1) in their paper evaluated the effectiveness of the internet as an educational tool and to explore what role it plays in the educational system. The study was purely conducted on a sample of 120 users of Delhi College of Engineering (DCE) Library. The questionnaires consisted of 20 main questions with many of the main questions having a number of subquestions. The questionnaire contained five open-ended questions. This case study provides awareness of various internet tools and services used by the library staff and library users. The library will aware of new internet services and provide their users. This is case study of Delhi College of Engineering (Central Library) and this study will also be useful and important to those users who are already studying in different institutions and colleges.

Carlin and Pemberton (1979) (2) discussed on a practical approach to reference measurement and evaluation which eliminates weaker elements of previous research and builds on stronger studies. The method, tentatively called 'Statewide Evaluation of Public Library Reference Service' (SEPLRS) is a means of testing and evaluating reference effectiveness. It is to be undertaken by state libraries with public library cooperation in each state, and its primary function is that of encouraging the achievement and maintenance of the highest level of quality in public library reference service. Describes the method in some detail. A pilot study is to be carried out using SEPLRS.

According to Green, L. K and Green, K (1988) (6) reference services determine, to a large degree, how many patrons perceive the library, it is imperative that within budgetary, staffing, and collection constraints, libraries provide the best possible reference services. To accomplish this end, its effectiveness must be measured on an ongoing basis. Some considerations for the planning, design, implementation, and analysis of various assessment methods are noted.

3.0 Objectives of the study

The specific objectives of the study are as follows:

  1. To assess the effectiveness in measures used in acquiring various information resources available in VTU research center libraries.

  2. To examine to effectiveness in measures taken for the effective utilization of budget in acquiring information resources to serve their researchers.

  3. To examine method effectiveness measures taken by these libraries for the effective maintenance of the library stack

  4. To know how these libraries are Managing the Periodical Section effectively in their library

  5. To know the effectiveness in the methods used in providing Reference Service

  6. To know the effectiveness in the steps undertaken for better use of Internet centre in libraries under study

  7. To analyze the effectiveness in methods adopted to collect the users feedback about the activities and programs offered in the libraries

    4.0 Scope and limitations

    The study intends to cover 82 research centers which come under Vishveshwaraya Technical University (VTU) in Karnataka. The list of these research centers are given in appendix-1. The various branches these technical research centers offer include Computer Science, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical and Electronics, Electronics and Communication Engineering, Civil Engineering, Bio-Technology, Chemistry, Physics, etc. Geographically, the coverage of the institutions is limited to Karnataka state only. The reason for covering these 82 research...

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