Toward a Framework for Assessing Library and Institutional Outcomes

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) E-Metrics project sought to understand how academic libraries might specify, produce, and assess institutional outcomes. This paper reviews the findings from a discussion forum, site visits, an analysis and review of accreditation standards, and a survey of ARL member directors, and offers a framework for approaching the outcomes assessment process. The paper concludes by suggesting that much work remains to integrate outcomes assessment successfully in a university setting. Moreover, multiple approaches to assessment, of which outcomes assessment is but one, are still needed for a comprehensive assessment of libraries in the broader university and societal context.