University of Texas at Arlington

Library Use in Spring 2015

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Library Use in Spring 2015

As the students relax and enjoy their summer break after all the hard work they put in during the Spring semester of 2015, we here in assessment are curious to know just how much did the students use the library. You may have seen a previous blog post on gate count information, which showed how card swipes at the library entrance could be used. Well, this is how.

Each card swipe linked to unique patron identification values registers the count of inward entry and outward exit swipes to provide us a wealth of information about the number of entries, exists and net flow of patrons. It should be noted that the information collected doesn't come to us directly but is processed so as to scramble the unique identification values like student or staff ids. We then extrapolate this information in our visualization software to create rich graphics that are easy to understand and help the library staff to organize activities, schedule maintenance periods and evaluate the best use of space and equipment.

The pattern of entry counts shown in the above graph is something that we see every semester; the months change but the pattern remains. This shows how students study patterns are consistent with how the semester schedule is set and when the exams are. The closer it is towards exams, the closer we get to having more library patrons visiting. Check out the hour-by-hour visualization which can perhaps help you find out when the best time to grab that seat you want is; just look for the drop in entry count and you'll know there are less users in the premises and hence more chances of finding a seat. 

There has been a substantial learning curve in our department to offer cleaner, more intuitive visualizations that are comprehensible and aesthetically pleasing. Let us know in the comments how you feel about our efforts and what kind of analytics would you prefer seeing on this blog. We'll be happy to hear from you. Until then, have a relaxing, enjoyable and safe summer.

written by Ali Adil, alimohammed.adil@uta.edu