At ICML+EAHIL2017 we facilitated a workshop called Cooperation and benchmarking – finding the value and impact together.
We invited the participants to take part in our benchmarking project. We wanted them to help us to identify more future oriented indicators* and also to discuss how — or if — benchmarking can provide tools for creating an evidence base for health librarianship. The goal of the workshop was to find some new and exciting ideas to take further. We used brainwriting as a tool to find and refine the ideas.
Preparations the day before.
The first part of the session was spent on identifying new ideas for indicators to help measuring impact and value for international (health) library benchmarking.
The best ideas for indicators — quotations from post-it notes — from this brainwriting sessions were:
- Number of high “grade” student essays/exam papers in relation to librarian time spent teaching/tutoring
- How has the literature search been used to change practice?
- Impact on national health policies index/indicator
- When host organisation cites the library’s contribution in press releases or publicity
- What is the new role of a librarian? Non-traditional work
- Publications from the faculty; visibility in altmetrics
- Can the customer get the grant he/she applies
- Time saved by faculty e.g. lecture writing, student remediation
- Proportion of knowledge syntheses that reach publication
- Increase in application usage after a conference
- Chocolate/biscuits/cards — how many gifts (you get from customers)
Identifying new indicators
During the second part of the session the participants discussed how (or if) benchmarking can provide tools for creating an evidence base for health librarianship. There were five questions and the participants came up with lots of ideas and then voted for the ones that they liked best. Here are the ideas and proposals that were most popular — again quotations from post-it notes:
1. How can benchmarking provide tools for creating an evidence base for health librarianship?
- Develop indicators which are clearly articulated and detailed to enable consistent application across different services.
2. How can cooperation and benchmarking be seen as research activities?
- Will help develop “industry standards” to be adopted by the profession.
3. How can cooperation and benchmarking be used for measuring the impact of libraries and librarians?
- It will give you “evidence” by comparing both qualitative and quantitative measures.
4. How to inspire staff for change?
- By empowering them, trusting them, and giving them freeway to make decisions.
5. Something else?
- More national and international collaboration.
The best ideas
We are very grateful for all the participants for working hard and being so active. We hope everyone got something to bring back, some food for thought, found new connections and were able to extend their professional network.
* ISO 11620 (2014) definition of indicator: Expression used to characterize activities both in quantitative and qualitative terms in order to assess the value of the activities characterized, and the associated method.
ICML+EAHIL2017 Wednesday 14th June, 2017 15:00-16:30 Workshop 5 — Cooperation and benchmarking – finding the value and impact together.
In this workshop we invite the participants to take part in a benchmarking project of three health libraries. We want you to help us to identify more future oriented indicators* and also to discuss how — or if — benchmarking can provide tools for creating evidence base for health librarianship. The goal of the workshop is to find some new and exciting ideas to take further. We will use different brainwriting tools to find and refine the ideas.
What is brainwriting
Brainwriting is an idea-generating method that involves the participants in a group activity. In the more familiar brainstorming a group generates creative ideas verbally, on the other hand brainwriting enables the group to generate ideas and solutions on paper. It is easier for the less vocal people to participate in brainwriting. In the process, the participants build on each other’s ideas, and that gives an extra dimension to the discussions.
The basics are a group of people sitting together to write down ideas on index cards or Post-It notes. Participants are invited to consider out-of-the-box ideas. At the end of a set period of time (e.g., 5-10 minutes) the ideas are collected, organized into groups, and presented to the rest of the group. Then there can be a second (or even more) round to generate and present more ideas.
There are different variations of brainwriting – we plan to use two methods:
- BrainWriting 6-3-5: The name comes from the process of having 6 people write 3 ideas on Post-It notes in 5 minutes.
- BrainWriting Pool: Each person, using Post-It notes or small cards, writes down ideas, and places them in the center of the table. Everyone is free to pull out one or more of these ideas for inspiration. Group members can create new ideas, variations or piggyback on existing ideas.
Workshop on benchmarking
In our session you will discuss and develop two themes:
- Identify new kinds/types of indicators – future oriented instead of based on what has been done – in order to measure impact and value for international (health) library benchmarking.
- Our profession benefits from an evidence-based, research-focused foundation. We want you to discuss how (or if) benchmarking can provide tools for creating an evidence base for health librarianship.
If you will be attending our workshop session in Dublin, please, before Tuesday 13th June, 2017, introduce yourself very shortly (name, organization, main tasks) by commenting this post. If you want, you can also very shortly explain why you chose this session.
And remember to bring your brain!
*According to ISO 11620:2014, an indicator is an expression (which can be numeric, symbolic, or verbal) used to characterize activities (events, objects, persons) both in quantitative and qualitative terms in order to assess the value of the activities characterized, and the associated method.
As consideration of ISO (International Organization for Standardization) performance indicators seemed to make sense in a library benchmarking project, we decided to pick up a couple of them out of ISO 11620 (2014).
- The first step was to read it completely and theoretically decide which could bring useful information.
- The second step consisted using actual data from our libraries.
- The third one is to use them to produce information.
ISO Indicators chosen and discussed
User per capita indicator stresses the importance of the library as a place for study, meeting, and as a learning centre, and indicates the institution’s support for these tasks. We decided to consider students only, including PhD, for this indicator as they are the most actual users of the physical library.
Staff per capita is supposed assessing the number of library employees per 1 000 members of the population to be served. The amount of work to be done can be considered proportional to the number of persons in the population to be served. We decided to consider students, including PhD, for this indicator as they are the most actual users of the physical library + academic staff from faculties and hospitals. Hospital nursing staff actually uses (physically or not) the library, yet less than academics in our opinion. We hence agreed on adding here 10 percent of this personnel.
The Number of User Attendances at Training Lessons per Capita can be used to assess the success of the library in reaching its users through the provision of training lessons. As this performance indicator is applicable to all libraries with a defined population to be served, and this number is impossible to define, we decided not to consider it.
User Services Staff as a Percentage of Total Staff indicator can be used to determine the library’s effort devoted to public services in relation to the background services. User services include the following functions: lending, reference interlibrary lending, user education, photocopying, shelving, and retrieving items. We decided to use it.
We now have to use our results, interpret them and find recommendations. This will probably be communicated in a paper or a conference presentation in the next months.