Annex C Performance Indicators
- The framework discussed in chapter four could be developed ased on
the following principles which are largely taken from work arried out by
SCONUL and COPOL.
- Integration - how far library objectives are linked to
institutional bjectives. Particular factors would be: what evidence is
there to show he effective integration of the library service into the
teaching, earning and research planning and review system, so that
feedback s transmitted between departments and the library in both
directions? oes actual feedback occur in planning and delivery? This
will largely e a judgemental, rather than a numerical indicator. Some
relevant indicators however - such as the scale of borrowing by users -
can ontain numerical elements.
- User Satisfaction - what evidence is there to show that users are
satisfied with library support for their courses and research, in
particular in relation to the supply of book, periodical and other
media, study facilities, and information services and information
- Effectiveness - this relates outputs to service targets. These can
be output measures and service standards. They could cover availability
of he time taken to process new accessions, reservations and recalls,
inter-library loans, appropriateness of output (eg enquiry responses).
Although there can be numerical components for this (eg documents
supplied per FTE), it would be possible to aggregate them in a
non-numeric measure. The assessment of information support for
researchers depends critically on this indicator, and this would have to
be more judgemental, since targets are more difficult to establish
- Efficiency and value for money - this links inputs to outputs to
indicate value for money. The essential question is: taking account of
the level of input, is the quantity and range of output high? Such
measures could include loans, number of enquiries, photocopying volume,
all in relation to costs. Wherever possible, identified costs should be
used, with total costs only being used as a backstop. Libraries have
multiple outputs, which raises the problem of using one as a proxy or
trying to add different kinds of outputs.
- Economy - this relates inputs to clientele, such as overall library
costs per FTE, staff and/or operating costs per FTE student, or per
academic staff, etc. A similar ratio for acquisitions or information
inputs can also give an indication of comparative levels of provision.
These are numeric measures, but the significance of high or low figures
may vary for different types of institution. Essentially, this figure
should be seen as a control against the others: the framework allows
this concept to be placed in context. It is also critically important
that the indicators used are consistent and accurate with no variation
of definition across all institutions considered.
- It should be noted that the framework is not meant to imply that
particular indicators are better than others. The framework allows
institutions to choose appropriate indicators for their circumstances
and to decide what is good or bad in that context.
- Performance indicators require not only a common set of statistics,
but also some grouping of library activities. These may differ between
institutions because of their different activities and aims, but they
may be grouped together for performance indicator purposes. They might
- Provision of stock - acquisitions, cataloguing and classification.
- Public services - circulation, shelving, ILL, photocopying.
- Information services - Enquiry desk, information retrieval, user
- Study facilities - study places, audio-visual and other facilities.
- Other facilities - binding and conservation, special collections,
photographic and media services.
- Management activities - Policy making, liaison with users, staff
management, staff development.
- The combination of numeric and non numeric indicators presents
difficulties. At the highest level, a 5-point scale (Outstanding, Good,
Satisfactory, Shortcomings, and Poor) could be adopted to give an
overall indicator of performance.
- At the more detailed levels, a small number of indicators would be
regularly presented (some annually, others at slightly longer intervals)
using some standard indicators, such as the proportion of institutional
expenditure devoted to the library, but primarily using the framework
described above. In order to provide a common framework for user input,
the user satisfaction survey outlined in Nancy Van House, and others,
Measuring Academic Library Performance: proach, (American Library
Association, 1990), could be adopted (suitably amended if necessary).
This could not be undertaken annually, but might be carried out at
longer intervals. Individual institutions might also wish to add
specific indicators relating to their own circumstances: a library with
space problems might, for example, usefully add indicators relating to
occupied and empty shelving, or occupancy data.
Internal Library Management
- Indicators could be used by different staff at a number of levels.
These would make the fullest use of a matrix of the principles and the
activities/groupings above. The specific indicators used would vary to
accommodate the needs of the individual institutions. There could be a
significantly higher number of indicators for internal purposes than for
external presentation. The framework however remains constant, so that
the smaller group of indicators can be seen in the context of the
larger, and can be produced if required.