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  • Writer's pictureNoni Harrison

Collection Analytics

Updated: May 8, 2023

Formally analysing the collection using quantitative data is a powerful tool is assessing the value of the collection overall and identifying the areas in need of improvement. It also provides a means for better understanding the collection and its position in meeting library users’ needs. Collection analysis and mapping also provides a means of rectifying any bias that may be present in the collection to develop a more balanced collection overall. This also assists in collection development policies. Collection analytics provide a quantitative means with which to assess the collection, plan programs, assess budgetary requirements, compare libraries, evaluate the collection against curriculum requirements, develop library policies including collection development policies, and assist in weeding and deselection (Hart, 2003).

Hart (2003) suggests collecting data through LMS reports. Specifically, Hart mentions counting the number of resources in each Dewey class, calculating the average date of publication in each class, and collecting circulation statistics to determine “where supply was meeting demand” (Hart, 2003, p. 89). This data is then collated in a spreadsheet and analysed against a specific set of questions. Graphs are created to compare interrelated aspects of the collection; for example, age of the collection with the percentage of the collection by Dewey class, and number of titles with circulation. This last element of incorporating circulation statistics clearly allows libraries to identify how the needs of the users are being met and whether resources need to be increased and updated, and whether promotion is needed to increase readership related to particular curriculum areas.

TES recommends undertaking collection mapping that includes determining the average number of books per student in the general emphasis and specific emphasis collections, once the data is collected it can then be analysed in the following ways:

  1. Examine strong sections to determine if the collection is evenly distributed,

  2. Consider limiting selection in strong sections,

  3. To improve weak sections, consider selecting from retrospective selection bibliographies and watch for new items,

  4. Compare weak sections against the curriculum to be certain materials are needed,

  5. Develop strategies to promote strong sections,

  6. Compare the results with circulation statistics (Tangient LLC, 2018).

The Arizona State Library (n.d.) suggests first considering the library’s purpose and mission. This is used to provide a framework or focus for the collection analysis process. The data collected will be assessed against these standards. The types of quantitative data collected includes, number of titles, age and timeliness of materials, use, and per capita measures. These are also compared with qualitative data such as observations of use to better interpret the quantitative data.


Arizona State Library. (n.d.). Collection assessment and mapping.

Hart, A. (2003). Collection analysis: powerful ways to collect, analyze, and present your data. In C. Andronik (Ed.), School Library Management (5th ed.) (pp. 88-91). Linworth.

Tangient LLC. (2018). Collection mapping.

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