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Learning from Other Libraries: Benchmarking to Assess Library Performance



P J. Deutsch, Barbara P. Silcox


The Research Advisory Committee (RAC) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in its 2000 Annual Report to the NIST Director expressed concern that the NIST Research Library would not be able to meet the research needs of the scientific and technical staff in the very near future due to inadequate and stagnant funding. In response to the RAC's concerns, the NIST Director requested that the Research Library benchmark itself against scientific and technical libraries in other government agencies and the private sector. The Research Library identified 15 potential benchmark partners that appeared to be similar in the following ways: collection size, library materials budget, size of customer base, library staff size, and a target audience of researchers in the science/technology fields. Seven libraries agreed to participate in the study (conducted in the Summer of 2002). These included three federal libraries, two corporate special libraries, and two non-profit research/academic libraries. This article will address how the study was conducted including lessons learned for future benchmarking activities and how the results were analyzed.
Information Outlook
No. 7


library funds, NIST Research Library, Research Advisory Committee, research library, scientific research, technical library


Deutsch, P. and Silcox, B. (2003), Learning from Other Libraries: Benchmarking to Assess Library Performance, Information Outlook (Accessed June 21, 2024)


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Created July 1, 2003, Updated February 17, 2017