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Getting the Most From Your Info Dollar: Leveraging Data for Greater Value

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No matter the setting, library and information center directors are being asked to squeeze more value from their information budget. Mary Ellen shares the most effective strategies and tactics that info managers use to leverage their information purchases and increase the impact of their content acquisitions to their organization. Presented at the SLA 2019 Annual Conference.

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Getting the Most From Your Info Dollar: Leveraging Data for Greater Value

  1. 1. Getting the Most From Your Info Dollar Mary Ellen Bates June 16, 2019
  2. 2. “Information wants to be free” 4 Stewart Brand, 1985
  3. 3. Information wants to be free because it has become so cheap to distribute, copy, and recombine – too cheap to meter. 5 It wants to be expensive because it can be immeasurably valuable to the recipient.
  4. 4. What are you to the bottom line? Overhead or Managing strategic information assets Why not both? 6
  5. 5. Think like your upper management Show that budget is spent on resources that are being used ID resources valued by valuable employees Show tangible ties to strategic goals 7
  6. 6. Link expenses to your org’s goals Support an endowment campaign Provide decision support for ad hoc team Pivot to new strategic focus & audience Support staff professional development, retention 8
  7. 7. Link your info resources to outcomes Key client group’s goal:______________ Info needs:_________________________ Measurable impact/outcome:_________ 9
  8. 8. Link your info resources to outcomes Goal for CFO: Reduce corporate risk Info needs: Due diligence research, workshops on copyright concerns Impact/outcome: Risks identified, increased use of licensed content 10
  9. 9. Link your info resources to outcomes Goal for university: Increase job success for graduates Info needs: Analytical search skills, skills in researching high-end info services Impact/outcome: Grads are more competitive applicants, with demonstrated prof skills 11
  10. 10. Link your info resources to outcomes % of awarded patents supported by library research # of regulatory approvals supported # of strategic initiatives supported Key sales goals met 12
  11. 11. Address IAOTWFF* *It’s All On The Web For Free
  12. 12. Strategic free-vs-fee thinking How much is at stake? What’s the overall budget for this? Do I need to bill out the expense? Do I need to document the cost of research? How much time do I have? 14
  13. 13. Strategic free-vs-fee thinking What do I need in order to get smart? What do I need now in order to add value later? What kind of resources will I need? Who is likely to care about this? 15
  14. 14. Strategic free-vs-fee thinking What is "authoritative" to this client? What will the end result look like? Do I have expertise in this area? How specialized is the topic? 16
  15. 15. The true cost of your time Annual salary * 1.3 = fully-loaded salary 52 weeks – 4 weeks = 1,920 work hours/year Full salary / total work hours = full hourly rate $75K salary = $51/hour $100K salary = $68/hour 17
  16. 16. Your minutes add up Time saved on fee-based service and NOT spent Googling 1 hour a day = $12,240/year/info pro Time saved with robust online user help 3 10-minute calls/day avoided saves $6,120/year 18
  17. 17. Cost of NOT finding info 75% of articles would not be read if not easily accessible Professionals get $310 of value per article read – ROI of 8:1 Source:, from 1993 19
  18. 18. Leverage fee-based services Remind users of library resources they can’t access themselves Raise users’ DISsatisfaction with their search results Build FUD regarding Google filters, confirmation bias and coverage 20
  19. 19. Assigning value to ROI factors “Sharing economy” = low awareness of copyright Strong licensing = risk reduction Right To Be Forgotten = more gaps in web news 21
  20. 20. Build strategic library usage Look for underused resources Promote in newsletter, web, social media, training, etc. F2F interactions have impact! Onsite awareness-raising events Weekly drop-by sessions Cultivate the info-nerds 22
  21. 21. Use the tools Install library/search widgets at pain points Embed content, embed librarians Provide curated daily news 23
  22. 22. Evaluating Online Providers’ Value 24
  23. 23. When evaluating providers: Content and direct cost drive the conversation This misses features, functionality, ease of use, user support, license restrictions, etc. 25
  24. 24. Evaluating total value Does the pricing work for your org’s employees and work flow? How much IT support will you need to deploy, modify, maintain? How much will the vendor do? 26
  25. 25. Evaluating total value If searchers can’t find it, it doesn’t exist How much can the UI be customized? How easy is the platform for new users? For experienced users? 27
  26. 26. Evaluating total value How much user/searcher support and training does vendor provide? Multiple formats and media? 24/7 coverage? Do you want users calling the vendor? 28
  27. 27. Evaluating total value Does platform include DOIs to refer users to already-licensed content? How agile is the vendor? Do they cover non-traditional media? How do they respond to IAOTWFF? 29
  28. 28. Evaluating total value What can you do with the content? Data viz, data analytics tools? License restrictions? Redistribution rights? Data mining rights? 30
  29. 29. Want more info? Slides at See also The True Cost of Information: Measuring the ROI of the Information Center For more information about Springer Nature, contact Caitlin Cricco, Senior Marketing Manager, 31