Evaluation of the Electronic Libraries Programme
Synthesis of Annual Reports

APPENDIX 1: Format for Annual Reporting


As innovative projects from which others are expecting to learn, it is important that eLib projects provide information and knowledge that will be speedily accessible to the wider community. This annual reporting structure is one way of ensuring that the lessons emerging from monitoring and evaluating the progress and success of the project are recorded, systematised and disseminated.

The framework elaborated below is intended to provide eLib in its overall management role with a consistent and coherent set of data from all projects about activities and progress, the process of implementation, reflections on what has been learned and revised understandings and expectations about the project innovation. Regular reporting of this kind is also useful for project self-evaluation and reflexivity among the partners about what is being learned.

The framework takes the form of a set of leading questions that are relatively unstructured. In the first year, we would expect to elicit 'soft' data from projects, informed by your formative evaluation and experiences of implementation. In the second and subsequent years, reporting would include more systematic feedback from trials or demonstrators and any evidence you might have of outcomes and effects.

The annual reporting structure proposed here is intended to dovetail with management agreements made with eLib about regular reporting. In preparing an annual report, we would ask you to report up to the last major milestone as specified in your own project plan.

Projects are requested to follow the format below when preparing their annual report. We would also ask you to append any relevant documentation (evaluation reports, business plans, publicity materials etc.) when forwarding your report to eLib.

1. Activities and Progress

This section is concerned with activities and progress in relation to your proposal and contract with eLib. It should identify what has been achieved since the start of the project/since the last report.

Questions to address:

- What have been the major activities undertaken by the project?

- What have been your main objectives or targets during the period and how far have you been able to meet them?

- Have you produced any outputs from your activities (such as materials, publicity, reports, etc.)?

- Do you have any particular successes to report?

2. Learning from the process of implementation

This section of the report is concerned with differences between what was planned and what actually occurred, and the reasons for any such changes to plan. Please tell us about any difficulties you have encountered as well as unexpected opportunities that may have opened up. Projects are encouraged to report on all forms of change including 'learning from failure'.

Check list of questions:

- Have you encountered any difficulties in managing the project and carrying out your activities (e.g. staffing problems, technical delays, increased costs, involving relevant users)?

- What changes have you made to your plan (aims, objectives, staffing, activities, etc.) in the light of your experiences?

- What are the reasons for these changes?

- Has your project thrown up any unanticipated outcomes or unexpected opportunities and how have you taken account of these?

- What have you learned from your experiences of innovation and development?

Do you now have a different understanding of what you are trying to achieve, or the nature of the innovation?

3. Interim evaluation results

Projects will be collecting systematic, structured feedback at key stages in the project lifecycle, as outlined in the Guidelines for eLib Project Evaluation and in line with your own project evaluation plan agreed with FIGIT. These data are likely to be both formative (informing ongoing development and decision-making in the project) as well as summative (providing evidence of effects and longer term impacts).

Please report on the findings which are emerging from your evaluation activities, commenting in particular on any general outcomes, effects and impacts.

In keeping with the eLib programme's overall evaluation preoccupations, you might usefully comment on the project outcomes and effects in relation to the following:

- mobilisation

- cultural change

- cost-effectiveness/value-added

- sustainability

- demand/usefulness/performance

- future scenarios

(Some possible facets or indicators which you might consider for each of these broad criteria are listed in Table 1 in the Guidelines on Evaluation. These would ideally be supplemented by project's own operationalisation of evaluation criteria, relevant to their particular situation and view of what is important).

4. Future development

In this section you should set out any ideas you might have about future developments. It would be helpful to identify any changes in planned direction as well as any changes in proposed management and staffing arrangements.

Questions to be addressed:

- What are the main objectives for the next reporting period?

- What, if any, changes in overall direction are proposed?

- How do you now envisage the future scenario for the product or services you are developing, beyond the project timeframe?

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The Electronic Libraries Programme (eLib) was funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC)
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