Metrics, Schmectrics

So, we’re all really excited about Dr. Elizabeth Yakel’s upcoming presentation on Archival Metrics, but…well…what are Archival Metrics, exactly?

Glad you asked.

There are many definitions for metrics, but one that most closely reflects the concept for archivists is the following: a means of deriving a quantitative measurement or approximation for otherwise qualitative data.

The Archival Metrics website states that:

The archival community must find a way to support a culture of assessment, in which evaluation of our services and usability of our tools is built into our budgets and supported by our managers…we decided that [there were] two goals: first, to encourage archivists and special librarians to undertake user studies and to understand that though the materials we care for are unique, many of the service issues we struggle to improve are shared by many other institutions; and second, to collect user-study data in a repository to allow repositories to benchmark against each other and understand how their user services compare to other similarly situated units.

Intriguing, right? And how wonderful is it that there are fellow archivists working on tools that will help us assess our collections and services and use that information to help us make the best decisions about our programs, outreach, and support of our organization’s goals?

You can find out more at the Archival Metrics web site. In order to access the information on the web site, you will need to create an account and sign in. Once you do that, you will have access to a bibliography, metrics toolkits, and information and articles about the work of the Archival Metrics group.

To find out more, visit Archival Metrics on the web.

Archival Metrics is a joint project of the University of Michigan, the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, and the University of Toronto.

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