Thursday, 23 August 2012

Mapping library users...

Still on Thing 16, a useful online tool I wanted to mention (just briefly, this time!) is MapAList. It does more or less what it says on the tin, so if you have information on where your users are coming from, you can use this website to plot these as points on a map.

I've done this for our visitors to the Nightingale Centre, where I work, during the Academic Year 2011-2012 (the locations are taken from a spreadsheet I made using the Google Docs account which I set up in an earlier Thing of the CPD23 Things):

(For anyone concerned about potential data protection issues, I should point out that this shows only which institution each student, or group of students, is based at - as opposed to using individuals' home postcodes!)

196 separate academic institutions are plotted here which I feel promotes a positive image of our library (especially given the fact we are not exactly easy to stumble across!).

I have seen other HE institutions which have done similar things to depict the usage of services they offer, for instance the University of Delaware uses this map to illustrate its document delivery business, with the different coloured pins explained on its Interlibrary Loans Home Page:

This one was made using Google's Fusion Tables (a tool currently still in Beta mode which
I tried using too but had no success in trying to import the data from my existing spreadsheet)

The University of Huddersfield's Librarians are also doing some interesting things with their data, looking at library usage and retention rates, for example.

Reliable statistical information is particularly important for those libraries which are under threat and (following on from my previous post) it was encouraging to see visits to New Cross Learning have increased by an average of around 500 visits per month in the last year or so.

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