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Everything You Need to Know About Integrating the Academic Libraries Survey (ALS) into IPEDS: Important Resources for Academic Libraries

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) has integrated the Academic Libraries (AL) component, formerly known as the biennial Academic Libraries Survey (ALS), into its Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2014-15 collection. All degree-granting, Title IV postsecondary institutions in the U.S. and other jurisdictions are required to report library information annually beginning [when?].

On October 1, 2014, the ACRL Academic Library Trends and Statistics Survey Editorial Board sponsored a webcast, Update on the New IPEDS Academic Library Component,attended by 347 participants.  Many of the questions raised during the session can be answered through existing information resources, including:

- Academic Libraries Information Center (Institute of Education Statistics, National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)). The site provides information about the IPEDS process and schedule.  Resources include:  Comparing the ALS to IPEDS AL Component; Crosswalk of 2012 to 2014-15 Academic Libraries Variables; Technical Review Panel Summary for Reintegrating ALS into IPEDS; 2014-15 AL Survey Screens, Instructions, and Glossary; Establishing AL Reporting Relationships; and Frequently Asked Questions.

- “2014-15 Survey Materials > Form – Academic Libraries Overview” (NCES). This webpage displays the AL component survey form and provides instructions and definitions. When viewed online, definitions from the IPEDS glossary appear in a pop-up window when the viewer clicks on specific underlined links on the displayed survey form.

- IPEDS Glossary with definitions.

- IPEDS Help Desk has been receiving great reviews for being helpful and prompt. Their phone number is 1-877-225-2568 and email is

Other informative links include:

- The one-hour webcast, “Update on the New IPEDS Academic Library Component”. Presenters include Bill Miller from Florida Atlantic University, Bob Dugan from the University of West Florida, and Carl Thompson from Counting Opinions.

- Bob Dugan is maintaining a tab on a LibGuide with documents and links about the reintegration including a crosswalk  that compares the ACRL Annual Survey, the IPEDS AL component, and the 2012 Academic Library Survey. Other information includes questions and answers from IPEDS Help Desk, the presenters’ slides from the October 1webcast, and documents from the Editorial Board’s presentation at ALA’s annual meeting on June 28, 2014.

- The Association for Institutional Research (AIR) provides online video tutorials for several IPEDS data tools. Some videos may be viewed at no cost; others require free registration while others require AIR membership.

Answers to the questions received during the October 1 webcast have been compiled and are available on the Bob Dugan’s LibGuide. Below are answers to two of the most frequently asked questions:

Question 1.  What dates constitute FY2014? My fiscal year runs June – July. 

Answer:  Report all data for fiscal year (FY) 2014. Fiscal year 2014 is defined as the most recent 12-month period that ends before October 1, 2014, that corresponds to the institution’s fiscal year. [Source:]

Question 2:  AL component, Section II on expenditures, Total salaries and wages.  Does staffing costs include student assistants?

Answer:  The IPEDS AL component definition of what to include in salary and wages expenditures is:

Amounts paid as compensation for services to all employees – faculty, staff, part-time, full-time, regular employees, and student employees [underlining has been added]. This includes regular or periodic payment to a person for the regular or periodic performance of work or a service and payment to a person for more sporadic performance of work or a service (overtime, extra compensation, summer compensation, bonuses, sick or annual leave, etc.).

[Source: Then, under Expenditures, click on the underline on “Total salaries and wages.”]

- Robert Dugan, Chair, ACRL Academic Library Trends and Statistics Survey Editorial Board.

Integrating the Academic Libraries Survey (ALS) into IPEDS: The Process Begins

Editor’s Note: The ACRL Academic Library Trends and Statistics Survey Editorial Board is working to create awareness of the migration of the NCES Academic Library Survey back into the Integrated Postsecondary Data System (IPEDS) and the implications for academic libraries. This is the first of a series of updates from the Robert Dugan, dean of libraries at the University of West Florida, and chair of the ACRL Academic Library Trends and Statistics Survey Editorial Board.

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) has integrated the Academic Libraries (AL) component, formerly known as the biennial Academic Libraries Survey (ALS), into its Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2014-15 collection. All degree-granting, Title IV postsecondary institutions in the U.S. and other jurisdictions are required to report library information annually.

The ALS was usually completed and submitted by the academic library. However, the institution’s designated IPEDS keyholder will be responsible for ensuring completion of the 2014-15 AL component.  Keyholders may designate additional users to assist them with the survey; the data entry for the AL component can be delegated to a person working in the library.  To facilitate the keyholder’s AL data collection, IPEDS designated ALS respondents as AL contacts and loaded their information into the IPEDS Data Collection System. IPEDS then contacted institutional keyholders to inform them of the changes in library data collection and encouraged them to reach out to the AL contact.

On July 17, 2014, Richard Reeves, Program Director of IPEDS, officially notified the AL contacts via email from the IPEDS Help Desk about the data collection changes. The email also asked the recipient to contact the keyholder if they had yet to be in touch.  The ACRL Academic Library Trends and Statistics Survey Editorial Board encourages all library directors to help the institutional keyholders understand the library data elements requirements by confirming your expertise concerning the AL data elements. This is an opportunity to increase contact and deepen relationships with the Instuitional Research (IR) office.

If the keyholder adds the AL contact or someone else at the library as an IPEDS user, the IPEDS Help Desk at will send the keyholder-designated person an email with a user id number and a temporary password. Following the instructions on this email, the designee will be required to enter a permanent password and complete a simple registration form. Then, the now-registered user may download and review the IPEDS New Keyholder Handbook 2014 – 2015 and view the institution’s status of completing the three annual IPEDS survey collections. Registered IPEDS users will also receive communications about survey collections, such as the follow-up email sent on September 3 reminding keyholders of the need to complete the Fall 2014 IPEDS web-based data collection no later than October 15, 2014.

There is one question about the academic library on each of two separate components of the Fall 2014 data collection. The Institutional Characteristics component asks if the institution has its own library or if it is financially supporting a shared library with another postsecondary education institution. Three responses are possible for this question and institution must choose one. This question has appeared on this specific IPEDS component in the past.

A new question about the academic library is asked on the IC Header component. Referred to as a Survey Screening Question, the institution’s keyholder, or their registered library user if so delegated by the keyholder, is required to enter the total library expenditures at the institution for Fiscal Year 2014. If the library expenditures are greater than 0, the institution will be required to report additional information about their library collections in the AL component. If the amount reported is greater than $100,000, additional screens will be required in the AL component for reporting additional expenditure information. The AL component is part of the Spring IPEDS collection which opens December 10, 2014. Academic librarians may want to seek out the institutional keyholder to help them with the new question about the library’s expenditures, especially as to its importance as a screening question for the Spring data collection.

The ACRL Academic Library Trends and Statistics Survey Editorial Board plans to highlight many of the more important changes in the AL data elements and other topics in future ACRL Insider releases. Additionally, a one hour free webinar, “Update on the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Academic Library Survey,” will be presented on Wednesday, October 1, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern (1:00 p.m. Central) and an update information session will be held at the 2015 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Chicago on Saturday January 31, 2015.

- Bob Dugan, Academic Library Trends and Statistics Survey Editorial Board, University of West Florida

ACRL 2015 paper, panel, preconference, and workshop notifications issued

Notifications for ACRL 2015 contributed paper, panel session, preconference, and workshop proposals were issued on Friday, August 15.  Thanks to all who submitted a proposal for the Portland conference!  Please check your spam filter if you don’t see your notification in your e-mail inbox; contact Margot Conahan at with questions.

Complete details about ACRL 2015, including registration materials, are online.

C&RL News – May 2014

may 2014The May 2014 issue of C&RL News is now freely available online.

Google Glass has been the topic of much discussion and debate in the media over the past several months. Char Booth and Dani Brecher discuss the pros and cons of this new technology along with the Claremont Colleges Library’s Glass lending and education efforts in their article “Ok, library.”

In this issue’s Scholarly Communication column, Christine Fruin and Fred Rascoe discuss the economics of open access, including author processing charges, in their article “Funding open access journal publishing.”

As Spring terms begin to wind down, planning for the next academic year begins in many libraries. Scott Garrison and Jennifer E. Nutefall give great advice for new library directors based on their own experiences in “Start by interviewing every librarian and staff member.” Anne Langley and Andrea Baruzzi of Princeton University give tips on holding planning events in “So you want to have a library retreat?”

A new academic year may mean new opportunities for collaboration, as well. Jane Carlin, Lori Ricigliano, and Ellen Peters share their experiences of collaboration between “Libraries and institutional research” at Portland State University. May 2014 marks the kickoff of ACRL’s 75th Anniversary celebration. To help celebrate this milestone, we are launching a series of articles running each issue over the next year highlighting the history of ACRL along with anniversary celebration events. In the inaugural edition, 75th Anniversary Celebration Task Force Chair Pamela Snelson outlines the reasons to celebrate ACRL.

In this month’s installment of ACRL President Trevor Dawes’ series on financial literacy education, Heather Jagman, Krystal Lewis, Brent Nunn, and Scott Walter discuss ways the DePaul University Library integrated financial literacy into their programs and services.

Make sure to check out the other features and departments this month, including information on ACRL events at the 2014 ALA Annual Conference in Las Vegas, a The Way I See It essay by Jen Green on “Library instruction for first-year students,” and Internet Resources on crowdfunding for research by Dawn Cadogan.

Draft Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education Progressing; Signup for Online Forum April 4 or 17

small_bannerMembers of ACRL’s Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education Task Force appreciate all the comments they’ve received so far on the first part of the initial draft of the association’s Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. They continue to make progress and are on track to release the second part of this initial draft in early April. It will include additional threshold concepts and sample scenarios. You can read more about their work in a recent interim report to the ACRL Board, which will be discussed at the spring executive committee meeting on April 2, 2014.

We encourage you to provide feedback on both parts of the initial draft by 5pm Central on Tuesday, April 15, 2014, via an online form. Additionally, you can share your perspective on the initial draft during one of these upcoming online open forums:

  • Friday, April 4, 2014, 11am Pacific/12pm Mountain/1pm Central/2pm Eastern
  • Thursday, April 17, 2014, 8am Pacific/9am Mountain/10am Central/11am Eastern

Register to attend one of these free events by noon the day prior as login details will be emailed the afternoon prior to forum date. Links to the recorded forums will be posted afterwards on the task force website. Each session is limited to 500 attendees.

A second, revised draft of the Framework, incorporating comments received on the initial draft and including additional elements, will be released in June 2014, followed by hearings at the 2014 ALA Annual Conference in Las Vegas and online. The initial draft Framework, along with additional information and questions to guide the review and feedback process, is available on the task force website.

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