PaLA: Digital Analysis of Your Physical Materials

Reading Public Library – Physical Collections Analysis 2018 with Carl Long & Mike Najarian

What is it?

  • Digital Analysis – Catalog/ILS, SQL (Polaris reports), & Excel spreadsheets – of Physical, print/non-print materials
  • Utilize SQL if needed for huge or customized reports (We need to talk to Mike about his SQL reports!!)
  • Excel Pivot table – ‘a magical thing’ provides quick-sums of a larger table of data
  • Excluded lost missing, withdrawn, etc., but include held, in transit, in repair, etc.
  • Analysis of usage statistics as a key point of collection development

Why and Who should Do This?

  • Humans have a difficult time with large numbers (apple v. cornflakes)
  • Base decision on evidence, not instinct
  • Inexpensive and expeditious after the first time.
  • Everyone should – especially small libraries with limited funds
  • Assess if collection is meeting user needs, reduce subjectivity, steer the ship

Why Do this?

  • Print isn’t dead and we should manage what we have until it is actually obsolete. Helps with bias.


  • Analyzing library collections with Excel by T. Greiner
  • Clean up data.
  • Then I quit taking notes because I was too busy listening!  Pivot tables are awesome and I can’t wait to try this method…if we can get the initial data dump from Polaris.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s