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Www.dcoheninfo.com SLA PNW Regional Conference October 2006 D. L. Cohen Information Services Special Libraries Association Northwest Regional Conference.

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Presentation on theme: "Www.dcoheninfo.com SLA PNW Regional Conference October 2006 D. L. Cohen Information Services Special Libraries Association Northwest Regional Conference."— Presentation transcript:

1 SLA PNW Regional Conference October 2006 D. L. Cohen Information Services Special Libraries Association Northwest Regional Conference October 6-7, 2006 Donna L. Cohen, M.L.I.S., M.Ed. D. L. Cohen Information Services Portland, Oregon Before You Start – Conducting an Information Needs Assessment as a Foundation for CM, Website, Intranet and Other High-Level Projects

2 SLA PNW Regional Conference October 2006 D. L. Cohen Information Services A Needs Assessment is a process for establishing needs, gaps and opportunities before project planning and beyond. Lets start at the very beginning A very good place to start… [Do-Re-Mi, from Sound of Music] A Rose by Any Other Word… Shakespeare Whether we are aware of it or not, we have all been doing this for eons.

3 SLA PNW Regional Conference October 2006 D. L. Cohen Information Services And beyond… Initial Needs Assessment Continue as is / Modify / Terminate Implement Decide / Plan Evaluate [Formative] / Assess

4 Establish need for a major service or product [or a change in an existing service] Establish components of the service

5 Save time or money Eliminate redundancy Expand perspective or add dimension Generate new ideas or insight Confirm details or facts Increase confidence in decision making Obtain more budget dollars / funding Conducting User Surveys: An Ongoing Information Imperative by George R. Plosker. Online Magazine, Sept/Oct 2002.

6 SLA PNW Regional Conference October 2006 D. L. Cohen Information Services Outputs Traditional – What we have done / services provided E.g. materials purchased, programs offered, website created, training sessions conducted Outcomes How users have changed: knowledge, attitudes, behavior E.g. # materials circulated, increased satisfaction with library, website is used, increased use of electronic databases, increased skill in finding information Assessment and Planning

7 SLA PNW Regional Conference October 2006 D. L. Cohen Information Services Outcomes– Simple Logic Model 5 hours per week staff time allocation / Assistance from graphics and marketing departments Send project leaders a two-page ROI doc monthly Library Staff will be invited to attend project meetings Within 6 months library staff will have attended 6 project meetings Goal: Increase Library Staff Participation in Company Project Workgroups Resources / Inputs Activities Outcomes Criteria Goal: Increase Library Staff Participation in Company Project Workgroups

8 Influencers Politics Culture Size / Scale

9 Who will conduct the assessment? Internal Outsourced

10 SLA PNW Regional Conference October 2006 D. L. Cohen Information Services Assessment Tools/ Methods Surveys In-depth interviews Focus groups Brainstorming sessions Inventories

11 SLA PNW Regional Conference October 2006 D. L. Cohen Information Services Assessment Tools/ Logistics Every method has logistical issues of some type. E.g.: Preparation of participants Invitations Scheduling Locations Equipment Food?

12 SLA PNW Regional Conference October 2006 D. L. Cohen Information Services The Needs Assessment

13 SLA PNW Regional Conference October 2006 D. L. Cohen Information Services Questions: Some Considerations A Scratch on the Surface Directly relevant to the goals of the assessment Not be leading Easy to understand If necessary, ask personal questions at the end PRE-TEST!! [Consider it usability testing.] A GOOD QUESTION SET IS HARD TO CREATE.

14 SLA PNW Regional Conference October 2006 D. L. Cohen Information Services Questions: Some Considerations Force specific answers, e.g.: How many times in the past year have you used Factiva? versus In the past year I have used Factiva: 0-4 times 5-10 times times more than 25 times [notice: exhaustive and mutually exclusive categories] Allow for Not Applicable, Do Not Know and Other choices, as appropriate

15 SLA PNW Regional Conference October 2006 D. L. Cohen Information Services Assessment Tool: Surveys Paper Online Difficult to probe, clarify, etc. Difficult to create a good question set Convenient Useful for quantitative data Allows many individuals to be involved Some pros and cons

16 SLA PNW Regional Conference October 2006 D. L. Cohen Information Services Assessment Tool: In-depth Interviews Complex interviewer skills Time-consuming Scheduling can be difficult Data analysis is more difficult Probe for deep and complex data Present new ideas Build relationships Some pros and cons

17 SLA PNW Regional Conference October 2006 D. L. Cohen Information Services Assessment Tool: Focus Groups Complex facilitation skills Comments avoided because of social context Logistics are more complicated Will need to record or have assistant(s) Probe for deep and complex data Synergy encourages new ideas Build relationships among participants Some pros and cons

18 SLA PNW Regional Conference October 2006 D. L. Cohen Information Services Assessment Tool: Brainstorming Must have folks who will speak up Scheduling can be difficult Facilitator skills less complex (although skills still needed) Encourages new ideas Some pros and cons

19 SLA PNW Regional Conference October 2006 D. L. Cohen Information Services Assessment Tool: Inventories Documents Products and Services Technical capabilities Time-consuming Need cooperation from everyone Straightforward Main skills are social and organizational Some pros and cons

20 SLA PNW Regional Conference October 2006 D. L. Cohen Information Services Lets Look at the Question and Data Analysis Handout

21 SLA PNW Regional Conference October 2006 D. L. Cohen Information Services Interview Data Analysis Example

22 SLA PNW Regional Conference October 2006 D. L. Cohen Information Services Presentation of Results Is the medium the message?

23 SLA PNW Regional Conference October 2006 D. L. Cohen Information Services A successful Needs Assessment is one: Which has marketed the results before the fact! Upon which decisions are made! Whose recommendations are implemented! Which contributes to continued assessment and evaluation activities. Perspectives on Outcomes Based Evaluation for Libraries and Museums IMLS LSTA W. K. Kellogg Foundation Evaluation Handbook -Search title phrase on Google. The URL is very long…..


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