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 with the spring IPEDS collection beginning in December 2014.

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 ipedshelp@rti.org.

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:  https://surveys.nces.ed.gov/ipeds/VisNextYearForms.aspx?year=2&survey=15&form=103&nextYearForm=103&index=0&ri=0&show=all&instid=30103]

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: https://surveys.nces.ed.gov/IPEDS/VisForms.aspx?survey=15&form=103&index=0&ri=0&show=all&instid=30103. Then, under Expenditures, click on the underline on “Total salaries and wages.”]

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