Tools & Results

To support Validation Sample Study #1 (VSS1), the EAST team worked closely with the Validation Working Group appointed by the Executive Committee to develop a set of tools in support of the data collection and analysis. Primary among these was a web-based data collection application designed to facilitate the efficient and accurate collection of data by workers at the 40 EAST member libraries undertaking VSS1.  The participating libraries were provided with a link to this web based tool to validate the presence of 6,000 randomly selected monographs on their shelves and perform a cursory condition assessment. The tool interacts with a Google spreadsheet that contains the bibliographic information for each item, based on the random sample selected from the library's collection analysis data.  Individual workers in the library intereact with the validation tool to collect the data which is then uploaded in real time to provide status on the progress as well as results to date.

This data collection tool was written in Google App Script, by the EAST Data Librarian, Sara Amato and the code is available on GitHub.  It was tested with various browsers and tablets, and it is believed that it should work on most modern devices. Other libraries or shared print programs wishing to use this tool are welcome to do so and encouraged to provide feedback to EAST.

How the Validation Data Collection Tool Works

The data collection tool allows workers to check the shelves to determine whether or not items expected to be available on shelf are present.  Prior to do this check, the libraries performed an automated check of their random sample of 6,000 items against their local automated systems to determine those known to be in circulation. Items which had been identified as being checked out or missing were not presented by the tool for shelf validation. For items that were not found on the shelf  but were expected to be present, the worker can perform a mantual check against the catlaog using the tool.

Whenever possible, the data downloaded to the tool included barcodes so that the workers could use a barcode reader attached to the laptop or tablet and simply scan the item's barcode to confirm presence.

As shown above,  once a worker can scanned the barcode, the tool will record it as "Present".  At that point, the worker performs a cursory examination of the physical item and selects the description that best reflects its condition: Excellent, Acceptable/Good or Poor.  As part of the training and documentation the EAST team provided the libraries, a video was created to provide guidelines to the workers on how to quickly evaluate condition and select the most appropriate condition description.

Summary Results of Validation Sample Study #1

As the 40 libraries participating in the validation sample study completed their work by scanning the random sample of 6,000 items and uploading the data collected via the tool, the EAST team was abale to track real-time progress of the data collection as well as see how each of the libraries was tracking in terms of items present on shelf.

At the completion of the study, which ran from February 22 through April 22, 2016, this data were finalized and aggregated.  Overall 97% of monographs in the sample set were accounted for (mean: 97%, median: 97.1%, high of  99.7% and low of 91%).  2.3% of titles were in circulation at the time of the study. 

Based on the cursory condition check done by the workers, 90% of titles were in average or excellent condition.  Approximately 10% of titles reviewed were marked as being in ‘poor’ condition.  The mean score for condition was 2.2 (2=average condition, 1=poor, 3=excellent).

Completion of this study provides increased confidence across the EAST member libraries and their local stakeholders that titles which will be retained by EAST libraries and made available to scholars and researchers at other EAST libraries will be available and in useable condition.  Further analysis of the VSS1 data set is in process and we expect additional reporting on results.