ER&L: Making Data Work

Speaker: Jamene Brooks-Kieffer

Spreadsheets are not usable information to most everyone else. It is not a communication tool. A textual summary or data story or info graphic conveys the information found in spreadsheets in ways they are easier to understand.

Every audience has diverse needs. Consider the scope appropriate for the story you need to tell.

Data stories are created with the tools you already have. You don’t need special funding or resources — use what you already have.

Example: In order to understand how the link resolver data is different from publisher data, she started a blog to explain it to internal users.

Speaker: John McDonald

Graphics can simplify the telling of complex stories. But make sure your graphic tells the right story.

Know your audience. Showing the drop in library funding compared to market trend to faculty will get them up in arms, but administrators see it as a correction to an out of control market and maybe we don’t need all those resources.

Collaborate with other people to improve your presentation. You might understand the data, but you are not your audience.

Speaker: Michael Levine-Clark

Guess what? You need to know your audience! And spreadsheets don’t tell the story to everyone.

Take the example of moving collections to storage. Faculty need reassurance that the things they browse will remain in the library. Some disciplines want more specifics about what is going and what is staying. Architects need space planning data and they don’t care about the reasons. Administrators need justification for retaining the materials, regardless of where they end up, and the cost of retrieving materials from storage. Board of Trustees need information about the value of paper collections and being a little vague about the specifics (talking about low use rather than no use).