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Mandated by the university to cost-justify its annual budget requests, the library at the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) found the answers it needed through ProQuest’s transformational library services platform, Intota. The ProQuest systems not only provide push-button answers to critical questions about collection use and value, they also enabled a new initiative to shift the library’s primary focus from collection development to faculty and student engagement.
“Traditionally we have been asked to demonstrate how we use new money, now we have to justify how we use our current money,” explains Peter Zhang, department head for Access and Discovery at the University of Texas at Arlington Library. The president of the university mandated that all academic departments make an evidence-driven case for their budgets, and the library was no exception. “Libraries have traditionally demonstrated value by saying we impact student life by providing such-and-such service,” continues Zhang, but “that is not good enough anymore. We have to have metrics that we can show.”
Generating those metrics proved difficult because, like most libraries, UTA had a hard time tracking use of its electronic resources – which in fact constituted 90 percent of the expenses. As Zhang recalls, “We never had a good way to track the data. The data crunching took two days, only covered about 70 percent of our resources, and we weren’t confident in the results.”