Tuesday, October 14, 2008

ILA: Plugging into the Numbers

by Gillian Harrison of BCR

We collect a lot of data in our libraries. Gillian's presentation began with what kinds of data can be collected and then turned its focus to how to present the data.

She showed charts, graphs, graphics, visuals... and had us assess their effectiveness in presenting the information.

Here are some more soundbites/notes
Before beginning a data project, determine who is going to pull/gather/manipulate the data. Decide which data will be collected and who has the password.

Data can be collected from in-house operations, vendors, professional organizations, Pew (http://www.pewinternet.org) and OCLC.

There are standards for data collection for journals and databases. To see these standards take a look at http://www.projectcounter.org

Make friends with your data. Look for baselines, trends and patterns.

Manipulate your data, simplify, compare and picture it.

Ask yourself, is this data point really valuable? Is it adding to the message or just adding noise?

Define your audience (and their data sophistication) What are you trying to say to them?
Is it an update, funding request, justification/explanation, information, shock or impact?
What outcome are you looking for?

Choose where and how to present the data. (venue, media, voice)

This was a very useful workshop. I am really glad I went cause I have a mountain of data to try and make into useful and useable information. Additionally, I'm going to change the first slide of my Wandering presentation to a better more descriptive graphic.

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