Here on the Value blog we’re interested in highlighting research and publications that demonstrate the value of academic libraries. The way we define “value research” is assessment of library services and resources in the context of an institutional mission. If you have a project you’d like us to highlight, please comment on the blog (first you must create an account) or complete the VAL project survey to tell us about publications or work in progress.

There’s an article in the July 2013 issue of College & Research Libraries that we haven’t yet talked about on this blog, but that is an example of fairly traditional library value research. It’s “A Citation Analysis of Atmospheric Science Publications by Faculty at Texas A&M University” by Rusty Kimball, Jane Stephens, David Hubbard, and Carmelita Pickett. The stated objective of the article is to determine how well the Texas A&M University (TAMU) Libraries collection meets the needs of faculty researchers in the TAMU Atmospheric Sciences Department by asking what sources were cited by these authors, and does TAMU Libraries own them in electronic or print format. Many collection analyses have been published in library journals, but the authors assert that this is the first on publications by atmospheric scientists.


So, if we think about a citation analysis from the point of view of Megan Oakleaf’s impact map, above, what happens? One campus goal for any research university is faculty research productivity. The library has obvious contributions in the form of resources purchased, so this is a point of impact. Through a citation analysis of faculty publications, librarians can document impact and then send a message via library literature but more importantly through our own campus channels about how the library supports faculty research. Throughout the process we can reflect and improve our provision of resources and services.

This article from College & Research Libraries notes that the TAMU Libraries owns at least 90 percent of all material cited by the atmospheric science faculty and 100 percent of the most frequently cited titles. What a great message to share with the faculty there!


At many colleges and universities it’s tenure and promotion season, when major decisions are made about continuing employment and promotions for faculty members. Some of our librarian readers may be sweating their own tenure cases, as some academic librarians have faculty status, and some librarians may be supporting other faculty members as they prepare documentation to prove that they’ve been doing good work. If you have experience in either of these areas that you’d like to share, please leave your thoughts in the comments! (And note that you must first create an account to join the discussion.)

Academic libraries contribute to faculty teaching and research, two of the major categories on which faculty are generally evaluated for decisions about tenure and promotion. How can libraries and librarians support the review process and thus demonstrate library value?

The Value Report suggests that we examine how library characteristics can be connected to faculty:

  • Publication output
  • Grant proposals
  • Funded grants
  • Conference output
  • Textbook publication
  • National juried show exhibits
  • National or international awards
  • Citation impact
  • Patents
  • Consultancy/advisory work (p. 47-48).

Any and all of the above faculty activities and outputs may be represented in tenure and promotion portfolios. How can libraries help with the documentation or make use of the documentation to strengthen our case for library impact?

Does your library provide a citation database for faculty? Do faculty members use it or do librarians help them use it in order to demonstrate the impact of faculty publications? There’s a potential for library impact!

Does your library provide electronic resources that faculty integrate into proposals, articles, and reports? There’s another potential for library impact!

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