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Assessment in the MIT Libraries: MIT Library surveys

A guide to the MIT Libraries' activities related to continuous assessment and improvement.

About the MIT Library Surveys

Every three years, the MIT Libraries undertakes major surveys of faculty, undergraduates, graduate students and research staff with the goal of gathering information about the Libraries' services in order to improve them.

The Libraries' most recent survey was administered in January-February 2015. Results are still being compiled. The 2011 survey results are below; previous surveys are linked to the tabs above, underneath the tab for this page.

Survey instruments available on these pages are offered under Creative Commons Attribution license. For more information, contact Lisa Horowitz, Assessment Librarian, MIT Libraries:

2011 library survey

The most recent MIT Libraries Survey was conducted in October 2011. Over 7000 MIT members responded, an excellent overall response rate of 44%. (Response rates by community: 47% of the undergraduates, 46% of the grad students, 32% of faculty, 49% of postdocs and 36% of other research and academic staff.) Findings indicate that:

  • Faculty and graduate students continue to place priority in providing more library content in electronic form.
  • Undergraduates prioritize capturing more videos of MIT class lectures, as well as longer library hours.
  • Importance and use of electronic journals to most communities has risen slightly since 2008, the previous library survey, while importance and use of print journals has dropped slightly since that time.
  • While a large percentage of the MIT community prefers journals and conference proceedings/collections of papers in electronic form, a majority of respondents prefer or strongly prefer fiction and textbooks in print.
  • While most students choose their home or dorm room to work or study, at least half of all students choose "one of the MIT Libraries" as one of their three preferred study spots.
  • Students who have been in a class where a librarian taught techniques for finding information are significantly more likely to be aware of library resources and services than other students.
  • Although the largest share of starting points for finding books and articles in electronic form comes from Google, Barton and library databases are each one of the top three most likely starting points for these searches.

As the analysis of the data continues we will work to improve library resources and services informed by this feedback.

Several blog stories describe specific results:

Below are the survey instrument and a variety of tables and graphs with summary results.

Assessment Librarian

Lisa R. Horowitz

Related Web Sites at MIT