Stone, Graham, Ramsden, Bryony and Pattern, David (2011) Looking for the link between library usage and student attainment. Ariadne (67). ISSN 1361-3200

In 2010, the University of Huddersfield shared results from its analysis of anonymised library usage data [1]. Data was analysed for over 700 courses over four years - 2005/6 – 2008/9; this included the number of e-resources accessed, the number of book loans and the number of accesses to the University Library. This investigation suggested a strong correlation between library usage and degree results, and also significant underuse of expensive library resources at both School and course level. At the time, it was highlighted that the correlation between library usage and grade had not yet been significance-tested and that it was not known whether the Huddersfield findings were an anomaly or the norm [2]. As a result, a number of universities approached Huddersfield in order to benchmark against the data.

In the light of the recent Comprehensive Public Spending Review and the Lord Browne’s Review of Higher Education Funding and Student Finance [3], it was thought that, if the Huddersfield experience was found to be of statistical significance across a broad range of universities, there was potential for the results to be used as a factor to enhance student attainment. In parallel, there is a continuing focus on the student experience and a desire that all students should achieve their full potential whilst studying at university. Results could also be used by libraries to target their resources more effectively where budgets are shrinking.

In September 2010, the JISC released a call through the Activity Data programme [4] and in February 2011 the University of Huddersfield along with 7 partners: University of Bradford, De Montfort University, University of Exeter, University of Lincoln, Liverpool John Moores University, University of Salford and Teesside University were awarded JISC funding to prove the hypothesis that:

‘There is a statistically significant correlation across a number of universities between library activity data and student attainment’

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