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Stanley Wilder
swilder2@uncc.edu
Phone: 704-687-3110
Director's Blog  
 
ASERL statistics, part 2
 
The average number of reference transactions among ASERL libraries declined almost 60% between 2000 and 2012. This decline in absolute transaction counts is startling enough, but when we divide transaction totals by student enrollment, the average per student is down 70%, clearly an emphatic change in both student and library behavior. A casual observer would naturally conclude that our reference function is obsolete.
 
Instead, it is the reference transaction count that is obsolete. It is dangerously misleading and should be replaced by measures that better reflect the evolved nature of the library’s information mediation and pedagogical function. This will be difficult, because modern practice has made this function more complex, more demanding, and in every way less countable than it once was. In this we at least have the consolation of having good company: ours is the same "how do we measure learning" problem faced by teaching faculty. 

Sincerely,





In November 2012, I was interviewed for the Charleston Conference video series. Herewith my talking head, in vast quantities:   
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mcKM0kWyMjo


Sincerely,





Build-it part 4:
 
I’ve written about the decline of stack serendipity, a milepost in my descent to my current position, that print collections might better be closed, housed for fast retrieval and excellent long-term preservation.
 
None of which can happen without a new generation of collection visualization technologies that allow users to instantly invent and browse "stacks" that correspond to their own parameters: infinitely changeable combinations of attributes such as subject, language, location, age, digital, print, or other formats. It doesn’t take much imagination to experience afresh the extreme poverty of the LC subject arrangement of print volumes in this interdisciplinary, multi-format world. 
 
Sophisticated collection visualization does not exist at present, though it is perfectly imaginable using existing technologies. Another rich vein waiting for entrepreneurial build-it research libraries.  

Sincerely,