Some thoughts from Lincoln

Thanks to Paul Stainthorp at the University of Lincoln for allowing us to cut and paste this blog post. You can see the original at:

I submitted Lincoln’s data on 13 June. It consists of fully anonymised entries for 4,268 students who graduated from the University of Lincoln with a named award, at all levels of study, at the end of the academic year 2009/10 – along with a selection of their library activity over three* years (2007/08, 2008/09, 2009/10).

The library activity data represents:

  1. The number of library items (book loans etc.) issued to each student in each of the three years; taken from the circ_tran (“circulation transactions”, presumably) table within our SirsiDynix Horizon Library Management System (LMS). We also needed a copy of Horizon’s borrower table to associate each transaction with an identifiable student.
  2. The number of times each student visited our main GCW University Library, using their student ID card to pass through the Library’s access control gates in each of the three* years; taken directly from our ‘Sentry’ access control/turnstile system. These data apply only to the main GCW University Library: there is no access control at the University of Lincoln’s other four campus libraries, so many students have ’0′ for these data. Thanks are due to my colleague Dave Masterson from the Hull Campus Library, who came in early one day, well before any students arrived, in order to break in to the Sentry system and extract this data!
  3. The number of times each student was authenticated against an electronic resource via AthensDA; taken from our Portal server access logs. Although by no means all of our e-resources go via Athens, we’re relying on it as a sort of proxy for e-resource usage more generally. Thanks to Tim Simmonds of the Online Services Team (ICT) for recovering these logs from the UL data archive.

I had also hoped to provide numbers of PC/network logins for the same students for the same three years (as Huddersfield themselves have done), but this proved impossible. We do have network login data from 2007-, but while we can associate logins with PCs in the Library for our current PCs, we can’t say with any confidence whether a login to the network in 2007-2010 occurred within the Library or elsewhere: PCs have just been moved around too much in the last four years.

Student data itself—including the ‘primary key’ of the student account ID—was kindly supplied by our Registry department from the University’s QLS student records management system.

Once we’d gathered all these various datasets together, I prevailed upon Alex Bilbie to collate them into one huge .csv file: this he did by knocking up a quick SQL database on his laptop (he’s that kind of developer), rather than the laborious Excel-heavy approach using nested COUNTIF statements which would have been my solution. (I did have a go at this method—it clearly worked well for at least one of the other LIDP partners—but it my PC nearly melted under the strain.)

The final .csv data has gone to Huddersfield for analysis and a copy is lodged in our Repository for safe keeping. Once the agreement has been made to release the LIDP data under an open licence, I’ll make the Repository copy publicly accessible.

*N.B. In the end, there was no visitor data for the year 2007/08: the access control / visitor data for that year was missing for almost all students. This may correspond to a re-issuing of library access cards for all users around that time, or the data may be missing for some other reason.