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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 administered its fourth triennial survey in January-February 2015.  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:

2015 library survey

The most recent MIT Libraries Survey was conducted in January-February 2015. Over 5400 MIT members responded, with an overall response rate of 32%. (Response rates by community: 36% of the undergraduates, 34% of the grad students, 22% of faculty, 32% of postdocs and 26% of other research and academic staff.) Here are some of the findings:

Our Collections

  • Unsurprisingly, more than 80% of the community still prefer electronic journals, collections of papers, and conference proceedings.
  • On the other hand, print textbooks (preferred in print in 2011 by 52.5% over 22.2%) have been edged out by a preference for electronic textbooks (41.3% print to 43.9% electronic, +/- 1.1).
  • Library search tools (e.g., BartonPlus, Barton, Worldcat) continue to be one of the three most common starting points for finding e-books or books in print online. More faculty respondents, in fact (65.3%), start with library search tools than any other option.

Our Spaces

  • The three types of spaces that most student respondents have difficulty finding on campus include those where it is ok to be “loud in private”: spaces for conducting an interview (49.0%), to make a private phone call (44.0%), or to practice or record a presentation (42.0%). Through comments, students reiterated this need.

Our Services

  • The Libraries offer a number of Research Data Management services, including help with organizing data files and support for preparing a data management plan, but awareness of these services in the MIT Community is quite low (below 15%). Despite this, almost 30% of all respondents rated these services very important or essential, and another quarter rated these somewhat important.
  • Where a librarian was involved in a class (38.8%), responding students indicated that they were able to apply the acquired skills to that class (73.8%) and, perhaps more importantly, in other situations as well (90.1%).

Below is the survey instrument, along with a summary results file.

Assessment Librarian

Lisa R. Horowitz

Related Web Sites at MIT