The universe of the sample for this analysis may depend on the size of the institution and its research level.
- Small libraries affiliated with non-research institutions can choose to take a sample from all faculty;
- Medium-size libraries could take their samples from a discipline (less than all faculty; more than one department);
- Large libraries at Research 1 institutions might find that sampling per department is the most feasible and insightful.
Is the current collection supporting faculty research? That is, are the resources cited in publications by NU faculty owned by the Library? Of the titles (books and serials) that were referenced more than once, what percent are not held by the library? What percentage of resources cited by Economics faculty fall outside of call number ranges for economics? Is there a pattern--e.g., are most non-econ references to works classified in sociology? This analysis will help answer these and other questions about current research interests, the accessibility of resources, interdisciplinarity, and more.
STEP 1 Take a random sample of 20-35 (depending on the overall size of the department being sampled) publications by faculty. In the case of large departments, take samples from within subfields to insure that all important subfields are included.
In some sciences, NU Scholars can be used to generate a list of faculty publications. For other subject areas, NU Scholars may or may not be helpful--you need to know if important publications are included in Scopus and/or if the self-entry data is current. A subject-specific database (e.g., MLA International Bibliography) may be more useful. It is possible, in some subject-specific databases, to search by author affiliation.
Depending on the scholarly discipline, you can pull cited references exclusively from journal articles or include bibliographies from print/e-books published by NU faculty. It is not necessary to go far back in time, because this is an analysis of the relevance of the collection to current, contemporary research.
STEP 2 Record the referenced publications, including dates. For greatest efficiency, send the information to Endnote or copy/paste into Excel. In a database or spreadsheet, analysis will be simpler--e.g., duplicate titles can be added up or subtracted, depending on the question to be answered.
With thanks: A version of this method was posted on a listserv by Felix T. Chu, Associate Dean, University Libraries, Western Illinois University.