This is the "MIT Library surveys" page of the "Assessment in the MIT Libraries" guide.
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Assessment in the MIT Libraries   Tags: assessment, space assessment, survey, usability, user experience, user interface, user needs  

A guide to the MIT Libraries' activities related to continuous assessment and improvement.
Last Updated: Sep 18, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

MIT Library surveys Print Page

About library surveys

Every three years, the 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.

Survey instruments available on this page 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.


2008 library survey

Findings from the 2008 survey indicated that faculty, students and researchers wanted:

  • Simplified searching of library owned and licensed content.
  • Access to more content online.
  • Improved facilities.
  • More effort focused on improving their awareness of resources and services.

Overall satisfaction with library services in the 2008 survey remained as high as in the 2005 survey.

Here are some of the specific actions the Libraries took since 2008 to address these themes:

  • Redesigned the Libraries' home page search boxes for simpler searching.
  • Enabled SFX in Barton, allowing access to e-resources directly from our catalog from both on and off campus.
  • Embedded more services and resources in MIT Worldcat.
  • Developed the Libraries' portion of the MIT mobile app to include features such as searching MIT Worldcat and access to Your Account.
  • Converted numerous existing journals from print only to electronic subscriptions, added many more e-journal subscriptions, and purchased significant backfiles from Elsevier, Wiley and JSTOR.
  • Added approximately 225,000 ebooks to Barton in FY10 and FY11, through our partnership with HathiTrust and through new subscriptions to Springer e-books and Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO).
  • Thoroughly renovated the Dewey Library, and renovated group study spaces in Barker and the Hayden reading room.
  • Began development plans for a 24/7 space in Barker, to be completed in late 2012.
  • Appointed liaisons to every department, lab and center at MIT. New programs target all new faculty and department heads, newly declared sophomore majors, postdocs, and more.
  • Established a Librarian Advisor Program for all incoming freshmen, so every freshman receives proactive messages from the Libraries throughout their first year.
  • Expanded scope of the orientation committee to encompass the First Year Experience.
  • Formed a marketing team focused on promoting the Libraries' resources, services, collections and events to library users through multiple communications channels.

2005 library survey

The 2005 Library Services Survey provided useful data that was used by dozens of the Libraries' departments, committees, and individuals to improve services for users.

At a high level, there were four strong themes in 2005:

  • Increase awareness of library resources and services.
  • More online content, both current and historical.
  • Easier online navigation to access content and services.
  • Improve facilities.

Here are some of the specific actions the Libraries took between 2005 and 2008 to address these themes:

    Library Assessment Guru

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    Lisa R. Horowitz
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    Assessment Librarian
    Linguistics Librarian
    Manager, Liaisons, Instruction & Outreach
    Rm. 10-410
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