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Measuring Information Service Outcomes

Results of the 2016 MISO Survey

Campus constituencies express extremely high levels of satisfaction with library staff, collections and programs according to results of the 2016 MISO Survey. The only significant exception was related to the library facility; this finding accords with previous studies. The library received the most negative ratings on questions related to attractiveness and comfort of space.

Students, faculty and staff were asked to rate both importance and satisfaction with a range of services on a 4 point scale. For importance, 1: not important; 2: somewhat important; 3: important, 4: very important. For satisfaction, 1: dissatisfied; 2: somewhat dissatisfied; 3: somewhat satisfied; 4: satisfied. Below, we address some of the areas of greatest importance for each group.


Students place less importance on the library collections and services than faculty. They rank the importance of library databases (3.54) over ebooks (2.97) or physical library collections (2.92) though satisfaction with these resources was generally equal: library databases (3.69), ebooks (3.39), physical collections (3.60). The data also indicated that 64% of students rate their skill level at finding and evaluating information for their scholarship as no experience, novice, or basic; 53% were interested/very interested in learning more about conducting library research.

Chart with student responses on importance and satisfaction

Students value the physical comfort and functional spaces for individual and group study in the libraries, though the importance of quiet was slightly higher than the importance of group spaces.The library received the most negative ratings on questions related to attractiveness and comfort of space. In fact, satisfaction with the attractiveness of the library interior and comfort had the second and third lowest means (2.93, 2.99) of any of the questions seeking to measure satisfaction. This finding aligns with findings from the LibQual surveys and other assessments.

The Libraries would like to do further analysis on students' perception of the value of the physical collections and services, and find opportunities to promote library research. We will also examine how to increase spaces for quiet study, particularly in Cornell where only a small percentage of seats are dedicated to quiet study.

View student responses >


For faculty we were most interested in learning how they valued the libraries' collections and support for their own and their students' research. Nearly 80% rated physical collections as either important or very important, while 75% rated e-book collections as important or very important. Based on comparisons with earlier surveys, these numbers indicate a growing acceptance of e-books without much diminishment in value of the libraries' physical holdings. Satisfaction with print was about 10 points higher than with e-books, but those reporting that they were satisfied or somewhat satisfied was over 85%. Satisfaction with our e-journal collections and databases was even higher (96%), as was their perceived importance (93%). There appears to be a significant improvement over the level of satisfaction of faculty with e-resources when compared to the LibQUAL+ 2012 survey, though the structure of the surveys makes any definitive comparison difficult.

Faculty also expressed increased satisfaction with off-campus access to resources. In 2012 faculty did not find this service adequate, while only 8% reported any level of dissatisfaction in the MISO survey. In addition, faculty saw library staff as more knowledgeable than they had in previous surveys.

Overall faculty satisfaction with library services was nearly 99% with a mean of 3.84.

One area for improvement is communicating with faculty about Open Access publishing options and the assistance the library can provide in this area. A majority of faculty seem ready to support a policy to make their own works freely accessible through our institutional repository.

View faculty responses >


A key concern raised by the findings is the lack of importance that staff place on library services and collections. The library would like to do further analysis to understand how the libraries can provide meaningful services to the staff.

As one respondent remarked, "I don't use the library as much as I should. It is not a space I'm drawn to because I don't have much work that needs to be done there." And another wrote, "I think that when you start at Swarthmore, there should be more information available about what you have access to in the library and through ITS." Both these comments address a general lack of awareness of where the library might be of use.

While the library has often focused on "recreational" opportunities - general magazines, popular fiction and nonfiction, videos and music, we need to develop a better understanding of how we can support staff in their day-to-day work-life and developing programming and information around those services and collections.

View staff responses >


In the spring of 2016 ITS and the Libraries administered the MISO Survey to students, faculty and staff. Separate surveys were sent to each constituency; the staff survey excluded both library and ITS staff. The survey allows institutions to select which questions they want to include, though there are certain required questions. We selected questions based upon what we wanted to learn from each constituency. All staff and faculty were sent the survey, while a sample population of the student body were sent the survey. The response rate for faculty was 54.7%, for staff 37.6% and for students 54.2%.