How to use statistics to survive

Sacchetti, Luciana ; Ianucci, Paola ; Tosi, Simona (2010) How to use statistics to survive. Performance Measurement and Metrics, 12 (1).
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Purpose We want to share a true story with an happy end that occurred in a research Library at the University of Bologna. The lesson we learned is that to achieve an international standard for quality may be misunderstood; and that how to use statistics related to a single library may become a battle field if the two “players” - in this case, a research library and the Central Library System - look at it from different perspectives. Design/methodology/approach The advocacy strategy adopted by the library is based on a range of statistics to corroborate a wider meaning for “efficacy “and “efficiency”. The user’s point of view, satisfaction statements, observations and explored behavior – as known via the library quality system– are used, in parallel to the dimension of time in delivery services. Findings By means of the ISO 9001 quality system, the research library has been stimulated to measure different aspects of the library services, that could be of some interest if applied also at the Central Library System level. The reason behind the selection of such indicators is related to the main goal of the quality certification, that is to raise users’ satisfaction. Practical implications The paper presents also an example of good practice. The central library system at the University of Ferrara has build a set of indicators that could meet the requirements of three different schemes, all of which were of great importance for the library system management: a) the ISO 9001 requirements; b) the university overall KPI (Key Performance Indicators) scheme, aiming at defining a set of indicators that could measure and supervise all the main processes in terms of efficiency and efficacy of offices/libraries as well as of the staff; c)the national context. Originality/value Very often small or medium sized libraries strive to demonstrate their usefulness, efficacy and efficiency. Very often the users perceptions of the library services are less taken in consideration than quantitative measures on services outputs. This paper is a good example of a “survival” strategy of success.

Document type
Sacchetti, Luciana
Ianucci, Paola
Tosi, Simona
ISO 9001, efficacy, efficiency, advocacy, statistical indicators, University,
Deposit date
28 Oct 2010 07:12
Last modified
16 May 2011 12:14

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