Geographic Information Systems: Tools for Displaying In-Library Use Data

By Mandel, Lauren H. | Information Technology and Libraries, March 2010 | Go to article overview

Geographic Information Systems: Tools for Displaying In-Library Use Data


Mandel, Lauren H., Information Technology and Libraries


In-library use data is crucial for modern libraries to understand the full spectrum of patron use, including patron self-service activities, circulation, and reference statistics. Rather than using tables and charts to display use data, a geographic information system (GIS) facilitates a more visually appealing graphical display of the data in the form of a map. GISs have been used by library and information science (LIS) researchers and practitioners to create maps that display analyses of service area populations and demographics, facilities space management issues, spatial distribution of in-library use of materials, planned branch consolidations, and so on. The "seating sweeps" method allows researchers and librarians to collect in-library use data regarding where patrons are locating themselves within the library and what they are doing at those locations, such as sitting and reading, studying in a group, or socializing. This paper proposes a GIS as a tool to visually display in-library use data collected via "seating sweeps" of a library. By using a GIS to store, manage, and display the data, researchers and librarians can create visually appealing maps that show areas of heavy use and evidence of the use and value of the library for a community. Example maps are included to facilitate the reader's understanding of the possibilities afforded by using GISs in LIS research.

**********

The modern public library operates in a context of limited (and often continually reduced) funding where the librarians must justify the continued value of the library to funding and supervisory authorities. This is especially the case as more and more patrons access the library virtually, calling into question the relevance of the physical library. In this context, there is a great need for librarians and researchers to evaluate the use of library facility space to demonstrate that the physical library is still being used for important social and educational functions. Despite this need, no model of public library facility evaluation emphasizes the ways patrons use library facilities. The systematic collection of in-library use data must go beyond traditional circulation and reference transactions to include self-service activities, group study and collaboration, socializing, and more.

Geographic information systems (GISs) are beginning to become deployed in library and information science (LIS) research as a tool for graphically displaying data. An initial review of the literature has yielded studies where a GIS has been used in analyzing service area populations through U.S. Census data; (1) sitting facility locations; (2) managing facilities, including spatial distribution of in-library book use and occupancy of library study space; (3) and planning branch consolidations. (4) These uses of GIS are not mutually exclusive; studies have combined multiple uses of GISs. (5) Also, GISs have been proposed as viable tools for producing visual representations of measurements of library facility use. (6) These studies show the capabilities of a GIS for storing, managing, analyzing, and displaying in-library use data and the value of GIS-produced maps for library facility evaluations, in-library use research, and library justification.

* Research purpose

Observing and measuring the use of a library facility is a crucial step in the facility evaluation process. The library needs to understand how the facility is currently being used in order to justify the continued financial support necessary to maintain and operate it. Understanding how the facility is used can also help librarians identify high-traffic areas of the library that are ideal locations to market library services and materials. This understanding cannot be reached by analyzing circulation and reference transaction data alone; it must include in-library use measures that account for all ways patrons are using the facility. The purpose of this paper is to suggest a method by which to observe and record all uses of a library facility during a sampling period, the so-called "seating sweep" performed by Given and Leckie, and then to use a GIS to store, manage, and display the collected data on a map or series of maps that graphically depict library use. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Geographic Information Systems: Tools for Displaying In-Library Use Data
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.