Beyond use statistics: Recall, precision, and relevance in the assessment and management of academic libraries

  • Walters W
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Abstract

Although use statistics are often used in the assessment of library collections and services, they are of limited value in evaluating the library?s effectiveness as an information system. This essay highlights three concepts from the information retrieval literature?recall, precision, and relevance?and describes a standard of relevance that accounts for the learning goals of the academic community as well as the performance goals of students. It also demonstrates how the academic mission of the university can be incorporated into the assessment and management of the library as an information retrieval system. The discussion concludes with guidelines for the assessment of recall and precision as well as suggestions for the integration of these concepts into library collection development, cataloging/access, reference, and instruction.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Academic mission
  • assessment
  • information retrieval
  • librarian’s role
  • precision
  • recall
  • relevance
  • usage statistics
  • use statistics

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Authors

  • William H. Walters

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