Visualizing Library Data
Associate Director for Library Applications/Knowledge Systems
University of Maryland, Baltimore
Code4Lib 2016 Conference
Data for ___?
• Data for proving the usage of library collections & services
: A vanity dashboard demonstrating the library’s value
• Data for better decision-making
: A decision-making tool
• What data do we have?
• What does the data tell us?
We Decided to Build a Prototype!
• “LibStats” project
• A small team of two people
• We inventoried all data sources programmable through connecting to
either a backend db or a vendor-provided API
• Then we made a lot of charts and graphs.
(PHP + Google Charts Library)
• Then we showed them to the senior administration.
Which school borrows most articles through
our ILL service?
Which other library borrows most articles
from our library?
On which day of the week do people return
most library books?
Is This Useful Enough? Remaining Questions.
• What question did you expect to find answers for using the library
• Some observations are useful.
• But better to know what questions you are looking to answer in
• What questions are you looking to answer?