I want to tell you about a group of U.S. public libraries that are powerhouses when it comes to providing services to the American public. You might suppose that I’m referring to the nation’s large urban and county systems that serve the densest populations with large collections and budgets. These are the libraries you’d expect… Read More Strength in Numbers
Even with the promises of big data, open data, and data hacking it is important to remember that having more data does not necessarily mean being more informed. The real value of data, whatever its quantity or scope, comes from the question(s) the data can help answer. There are various reasons any given set of… Read More Quadruple Your Statistical Knowledge in One Easy Lesson
I think I’m getting jaded. I am beginning to wonder whether lobbying for balanced reporting of evaluation and research findings is a waste of time. With voices more influential than mine weighing in on the opposite side, I’m having trouble staying positive. Granted, I do find inspiration in the work of people much wiser than… Read More Putting the Best Findings Forward
It never hurts to revisit the basics of a method that we’ve chosen to apply to a task we want to accomplish or a problem needing solved. So, the recent announcement of the Library Edge benchmarks is a good occasion to discuss that particular performance assessment method. In the third edition of his book, Municipal… Read More Paved with Good Intentions
To begin this episode I want to introduce you to a couple of historical ideas on best practices in graphical data presentation—or using the more modern term, data visualization. (The peculiar title I’ve chosen comes from this history. Read on to see what it means.) Then I’ll step through a redesign of a bar chart… Read More Bad Arrangements to Place Before School Children
Nowadays libraries aspire to be data-driven. Almost everyone agrees that collecting and using data to improve organizational performance is a good thing. Implied in the various regimens promoting this idea (library assessment, managing-for-results, evidence-based practice, quality management, etc.) is the need for practicing two virtues: patience and determination. These virtues happen also to be part… Read More Data Detour
The graphic below is a variant of one I blogged about in my prior entry. Its designers added a storm to create what might be called an inclement tug-of-war. This version of the graphic is from the Libraries Connect Communities: Public Library Funding & Technology Access Study 2011-2012 (PLFTAS) press kit. Both versions communicate this… Read More Oh, The Weather Outside Is Frightful!