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How Low Budget Research Can Make a High Impact Alexandra Miller Director of Customer Services Development and External Relations National Library of Scotland.

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Presentation on theme: "How Low Budget Research Can Make a High Impact Alexandra Miller Director of Customer Services Development and External Relations National Library of Scotland."— Presentation transcript:

1 How Low Budget Research Can Make a High Impact Alexandra Miller Director of Customer Services Development and External Relations National Library of Scotland Janet Sylvester Managing Director Scotinform Ltd

2 Why do we do it? We must learn and evolve with our users We create benchmarks & gain insight In 2010 we produced a report on the next 20 years, ‘Thriving or Surviving’, to guide developments ( As a national library we may expect to survive, but to thrive we must stay abreast of developments and adapt our services Research helps us to do this successfully It provides evidence of NLS’ impact & helps to make the case for our funding

3 Recent developments Period of modernisation Acquisition of John Murray Archive Scottish Screen Archive merger New Visitor Centre Digital services Increasing access via exhibitions, outreach, web Winning awards Online reader registration (CRS system) BUT…

4 Significant cutbacks in funding Reducing headcount A lot of resources are still tied up in managing intake and providing ‘traditional’ research library services, e.g. reading rooms.

5 Role of research at NLS Measure KPIs Develop and assess Corporate Strategy Identify customer priorities Evaluate developments in products/services Minimise the impact of budget cuts on users Provide evidence of NLS’ impact & make the case for funding.

6 How do we source the data we need? NLS uses a range of different sources for research: Internal data/measurement Informal feedback from users/staff/Board Internal reviews/surveys Plus commissioning an independent research programme – budget halved in past three years.

7 What shapes the independent research? Internal views – staff and Board Greater need for user feedback as NLS develops services Increased usage of NLS – particularly online –47% increase in registered users (6,438 in 2009/10 increased to 9,495 in 2010/11) –38% of users now register only for online access Effect of budget cuts and reducing headcount Increasingly harnessing internal resources

8 Annual research programme – scope NLS issued a brief in 2009 for its latest three year research contract with the overall aims of: –Identifying the impact of developments on current and potential users –Identifying ways of increasing use of services, particularly by non-traditional audiences –Providing evidence of the Library’s performance for KPI and government requirements –Providing comparative data with previous research where relevant NLS required: −Surveys of a range of target audiences in Scotland, UK and internationally −Quantitative and qualitative research −Comparisons with previous research conducted by NLS −Within a budget that was 50% lower than in previous years

9 Annual research programme – target audiences General public −The general public, including under-represented groups defined by the Scottish Government Education and lifelong learners −Schools, colleges, universities, professional bodies, voluntary/ community organisations, community learning/development centres Academics and researchers −Academics and researchers working in colleges, universities and other institutions Library and information professionals −Public libraries, other Scottish libraries and archives and library networks Business and enterprise −Businesses, representative organisations and organisations offering business advice

10 Annual research programme – NLS sources Data on Registered readers – details stored on customer registration database Business users – registered separately by SCOTBIS Librarians – through professional groups Subscribers to enewsletters and Discover NLS magazine – marketing databases Attendees at events/exhibitions – limited data stored Social Media - Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr Gaps Online/website users – no data unless registered elsewhere Potential users – people interested in NLS resources Sources do not always identify the key target audiences

11 Annual research programme – customers Pre 2009 the customer survey included only registered readers – 500 selected from a sample of 4,500 Review of databases developed by NLS identified details on much wider group of customers and the increasing number of email addresses available Since 2009, the customer survey has moved online – 4,500 customers emailed a link to a questionnaire

12 Annual research programme – customers Result of move to online methodology: Significant research budget savings (>50%) Response from much wider group of customers, particularly from ‘non- traditional’ audiences (900 responses – 25% response rate) In line with NLS’ environmental policy of reducing print communication Sustainable methodology – but change in method has led to lack of continuity with previous surveys KPI has now been revised to include wider group of customers Providing much greater breadth and depth of information

13 Annual programme – non/potential customers Focus on the general public in Scotland Since 2004 NLS has measured awareness and perceptions through an Omnibus survey As a result, KPI has been developed based on awareness of NLS Post 2009 it was decided to continue with this methodology: longitudinal data very valuable in measuring changes over time Questions inserted annually into an Omnibus: budget reduction addressed by focussing on seven core questions Result: NLS has significant longitudinal data on the public’s views on its services and effectiveness of communication Data from the research helps focus marketing budget and resources

14 Annual research programme –mystery visits NLS introduced mystery visits to measure its new Customer Standards in 2007 Originally a purely quantitative exercise, the visits now include a qualitative element Since 2010, quarterly visits conducted (5 a year), each testing out a different aspect of the Library’s service Report on each visit is circulated to all relevant staff, with most positive/least positive aspects clearly highlighted Selected mystery visitors attend staff briefing sessions – this helps staff understand nature of mystery visit and ways in which service can have an impact on the customer experience

15 Annual research programme – impact on thriving or surviving? Research focussed on NLS’ requirements Measurement and review of KPIs Helps internal decision-making – e.g. budget priorities Customer input into development of services Communication resources can be targeted more effectively Provides data for making the case for funding from Scottish Government Helps NLS learn and evolve with customer needs

16 How Low Budget Research Can Make a High Impact Alexandra Miller National Library of Scotland Janet Sylvester Scotinform Ltd

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