April 23, 2018

Supporting Data-Driven Academic Library Collections and Services: Q&A with ProQuest’s Mark Tullos

Mark Tullos

Mark Tullos

LJ, in cooperation with ER & L (Electronic Resources & Libraries), is presenting a series of three free webcasts focusing on best practices for Data-Driven Academic Libraries.

ProQuest is the presenting sponsor of the series, and LJ reached out to Mark Tullos, ProQuest’s Director of Product Management, as well as a credentialed librarian, for a vendor perspective on this essential best practice.

LJ: How is ProQuest supporting academic library customers in achieving the goal of becoming truly evidence-based in decision making in regarding their library’s collections and services?

Mark Tullos: For many years, ProQuest has provided point-of-need solutions that deliver evidence-based decisions by resource format. For example, our 360 Counter service provides the e-resources librarian with consolidated views of database, e-journal or ebook usage, and cost per use. This data provides libraries with the needed evidence to more effectively make decisions, manage, re-package, or sunset titles based on use. Through our Bowker Book Analysis and Ulrich’s Serials Analysis products, we’ve helped libraries develop collections to core standards, or deselect based on similar evidence. Today we have Intota Assessment, a best in class library collection analytics service that we think provides libraries with the most comprehensive view possible into holdings, usage and overlap, and cost-per-use for monographs and serials, print and electronic.

Does ProQuest offer extra training or customization options to help libraries develop more granular reporting for improved decision-making? What other training should librarians seek?

MT: Intota Assessment provides a robust suite of “business intelligence” tools that provide granular reporting. Librarians and library staff do not need extra training to produce these custom reports that significantly improve decision making. The service offers more than 50 different, customizable reports based on usage data collected from multiple sources. Prior to graduation, library school students should strongly consider an internship or special projects work in a library. Working in a de-selection project is a great way to gain a deeper understanding of the drivers, data, assessment activities, and outcomes. Others could include DDA (Demand-Driven Acquisitions) ebook or articles pilots, or even deep analysis on database package usage. While a service like Intota Assessment automates and provides a more comprehensive view of a library’s collection, a student can benefit from understanding how data is foundational to evidence-based assessment. I’m heartened that there are now so many librarians with the title “Assessment Librarian.” Deans are clearly taking this need to heart and librarians are stepping up to the challenge.

Once they have the data, how do you see librarians using it effectively in decision-making?

MT: For libraries not using an assessment or analytics service, the data itself can be overwhelming and has to be distilled beyond just usage and currency. Intota Assessment however, combines data points that have traditionally been housed in separate silos. Centralized, this data facilitates collection evaluation and de-selection. Both quantitative and qualitative analysis are essential once the data is filtered. For example, ‘low to no’ use titles (quantitative data) can be compared to core title lists like ProQuest and ACRL’s Resources for College Libraries (qualitative analysis). Additionally, librarians can now use this evidence and present it more effectively through charts and graphs.

What sort of products and tools have been most embraced by your academic library customers? What barriers do you see to adoption and how have libraries overcome them? Do different kinds of academic libraries need different tools?

MT: Customers who have embraced 360 Counter, Bowker Book Analysis, and Ulrich’s Serials Analysis products report strong success in using data to drive their collection management decisions. We’ve taken the best parts of those products and added features librarians have requested to create Intota Assessment, a tool better suited to meet the comprehensive assessment needs of libraries today. Adopting a new tool or system can be disruptive to existing workflows and can make some staff feel threatened. Change, even when it is positive, can be an adoption barrier. We encourage librarians to imagine what else could they be doing to serve their patrons better if they didn’t have to spend days analyzing usage in outdated tools…or no tools at all. Analysis which once took hours and hours to complete can be accomplished in literally minutes. The amount of time saved enables librarians to apply their expertise in new ways. Every library, large or small, benefits from evidence-based decision making. The types of data needed for a comprehensive view is the same, regardless of collection size. An assessment tool that simplifies gathering of diverse data points, such as publisher list prices, availability and/or holding of ebook version, book reviews, and circulation data over time, enables librarians to make better decisions. Another Intota Assessment feature highly valued by customers is a pre-filtered accreditation report, designed to help libraries quickly answer statistical surveys from organizations such as ACRL, ARL, and more, which could otherwise take hours of time.

What is coming down the pike in this arena from ProQuest? What new products or services do our readers need to know about? What features are customers asking for you to add?

MT: Intota Assessment is the first service of the Intota library services platform (LSP) and is also available as a stand-alone solution. ProQuest determined to  approach collection analysis first because it addresses current pain in libraries. Another service which tackles ERM (Electronic Resource Management) and DDA challenges will be available early next year, followed by Intota, which can replace the current ILS. Customers have been asking for more consortial functionality, so we’ve included a feature in Intota Assessment that enables peer analysis for large collections. Other things to look forward to in 2014 include the ability to use citation and ILL statistics to judge the strength of the library’s collection, Project COUNTER 4 support, and much more.

What other aspects of data collection and analytics for academic libraries, if any, would you like to share with our readers?

MT: Assessment is critical for all libraries. Data driven assessment provides a powerful opportunity for libraries to demonstrate their value in ways not previously possible. Many libraries are stepping up to the challenge of having data at their fingertips so that it’s easier to pro-actively speak to how the library is advancing university and student outcomes.

Mark Tullos is a Director of Product Management for ProQuest. In his current role, he oversees product management for 360 Counter, Resources for College Libraries, Books In Print, and Syndetics Solutions. Most recently he led the product definition and development of Intota Assessment, a new library collection analytics service. Additional industry experience includes product management roles at Elsevier and OCLC.Mark earned his MLIS from Louisiana State University, and holds a BA in Political Science, History from Loyola University New Orleans.

The Latest Trends in Library Design
Hosted in partnership with Salt Lake County Library and The City Library—at SLCo’s Viridian Center—the newest installment of our library building and design event will let you dig deep with architects, librarians, and vendors to explore building, renovating, and retrofitting spaces to better engage your community.