[Web4lib] Academic Library Website Benchmarks Published

Primarydat at aol.com Primarydat at aol.com
Fri Dec 14 11:29:58 EST 2007

Primary Research Group has published Academic Library Website Benchmarks 
(ISBN #: 1-57440-094-0). The  report presents data from 82 North American college 
libraries about their  library website policies and development plans.  
Some of the report’s findings are that:   
    *   More than three quarters of all  respondents plan a major redesign of 
the library website within the next two  years. Nearly 85% of research 
universities (84.6%) planned a website redesign  in this period. A high percentage 
of colleges with FTE enrollments below 2,000  (82%) planned to redesign their 
website within the next two years, compared to  72.7 to 78.3% of colleges with 
higher enrollments.  
    *   The library information technology or  web staff accounted for over 
76% of the total man-hours spent running the  college library websites for the 
colleges in the sample. College-wide IT or  web staff performed an average of 
just 15.76% of the labor necessary to run  the college library websites in the 
    *   Nearly 42% of survey participants used  a content editing system 
provided by the central college web staff.  
    *   Of the libraries that do use a content  management system, just over 
a quarter expressed satisfaction for the most  part and had no plans for 
changing software or management methods in the  future. Another 31.4% reported that 
they were not completely satisfied and  might change content management 
systems or their  policies.
    *   The mean number of library staff or  personnel who entered content 
into the college library website in the last  full semester was 13.24. Community 
colleges had just 2.5 library employees  entering content, compared to 5.2 
employees at 4-year/MA granting institutions  and 11.1 at PhD-level granting 
institutions. Research universities reported  the highest number of library staff 
entering data, at 51.8, and a maximum of  200.
    *   Nearly half of survey participants  selected JavaScript as their most 
 commonly used scripting language on the college  website.
    *   For a shade less than two thirds of  the libraries (64.9%) the 
library website budget was part of the library IT  budget, and not separately broken 
out; 35.1% considered it part of the college  IT budget.
    *   More than 8 out of 10 college  libraries use cascading style sheets 
at least to some  degree.
    *   Approximately one in ten college  libraries have a presence on the 
social networking site  MySpace.
    *   Over three quarters of the libraries  in the sample (76.8%) do not 
have a “My Library” type of service for users to  log in to, save research or 
favorite places, and bookmark other commonly used  library resources.
    *   The mean number of files on the  library website was just over 5,400.
    *   Just over a third of the sample  responded that they were currently 
offering federated search capabilities from  the website, so that a broad range 
of library databases could be searched at  once. Three out of four research 
universities had federated search  capabilities, compared to just 53.33% of 
PhD-level granting institutions,  29.27% of 4-year/MA granting institutions, and 
just 8.33% of community  colleges. The mean number of subject-specific search 
windows offered through  federated searches was 19.72.
The study gives detailed data about  budgets, technology, personnel, 
policies, use of consultants, relations with the  college IT department and many other 
issues of interest to college library  webmasters or staff. Data is broken 
out separately by level of overall  enrollment, Carnegie Class or type of 
college, and for colleges with and without  academic library website webmasters, and 
for public and private colleges. For a  list of colleges that participated in 
the report and further information contact  Primary Research Group at 
_www.primaryresearch.com_ (http://www.primaryresearch.com/)  or call 212-736-2316.   

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