2014年11月4日 星期二

評估公共圖書館價值—Pertti Vakkari 教授專訪



2013年初芬蘭坎培爾大學的Pertti Vakkari教授榮獲資訊科學和技術的專業學會(ASIS&TAssociation for Information Science and Technology)在資訊行為研究的傑出成就獎,他研究主要貢獻在資訊行為和資訊搜尋策略(1)。根據他在Google Scholar的引用文獻統計,他在資訊搜尋上的著作被引用次數達200次以上的文章就有4篇,可見其Task-based Information searching研究受到重視知程度(2)

Vakkari教授研究的領域有任務導向的資訊搜尋行為和使用行為、數位圖書館利用、資訊系統評估、小說查詢、公共圖書館的成果評估等,其出版的學術論文達上百篇。本次應邀來台演講的內容是針對公共圖書館的成果評估做研究報告,成果評估是去了解影響讀者在認知與行為上的改變;也就是衡量讀者經過圖書館利用後,去探索其在知識、技巧、態度、行為和狀況上的改變,這些認知會反應在讀者的生活狀態中,不同於我們一般在圖書館評估的計量分析,認知和感受更趨近於價值體現,有利於述說圖書館的影響力。這樣的評估結果可以協助公共圖書館發掘具體的服務成效和圖書館社會價值、決策者也可藉此來分析圖書館服務。

公共圖書館負有教育、娛樂與文化保存的功能,讀者無論是從娛樂或者教育的觀點來使用圖書館,都和其教育程度和職業有關,所以使用圖書館的成果評估可以從讀者每天的生活、興趣表現與工作來蒐集資訊,不同的教育程度和年齡仰賴圖書館的需求程度就不一樣,教育程度低者和中年者用圖書館來適應生活所需,教育程度高者和年輕者用圖書館來發展文化上的興趣和解決工作上的疑難雜症(3)

公共圖書館顯著的統計數據輸出會是借書量和小說借閱量,爰此改善服務可以從小說查詢或者推薦系統來著手。Vakkari教授調查芬蘭的公共圖書館發現教育程度低與老年讀者是需要輔導的群族,近兩三年來他做了更多維度的分析,可以提供決策者在經費、資源應用上有更多的理解,經過多個國家的測試與變數量測(4),我們期待這次研討會可以讓我們從不同的分析角度去看成果評估所帶來的效益,讓我們有不同的方式來闡述圖書館的社區服務價值。

Library Watch:問題集:
1.請問您是如何定義輸出(output measurement)和成果評估(outcome measurement)?
2.是什麼主要因素促成圖書館走向成果的評估?
3.學術圖書館和公共圖書館的評量向度有何不同?
4. 公共圖書館實行結果評估的趨勢和挑戰為何?
Pertti

從輸出到成果評估
文獻中談到系統或者服務的輸出評估和成果評估是不一樣的概念,輸出是指系統實施後的結果,成果是指系統對使用者所產生的效益。Rubin即指出這樣的效益會產生在改變使用者的知識、技能、行為或態度。在圖書資訊學的領域,從輸出結果到觀察成果是評估機制上的典範轉移,可以更進一步了解圖書館如何改變讀者的生活。

早期典型的評估方式是去看圖書借閱量、進館人次、參考問題數量來衡量圖書館對社區的影響,這樣的指標只能片面的詮釋圖書館對於社區需求面貌,並無法解釋圖書館如何對使用者帶來好處。其實除了計算借閱量,借書數量還說明了借閱對讀者有其更進一步的利益。讀一本書也許能增加讀者認知上的能力,例如可以了解到台灣的歷史,或者可以協助讀者增益每日生活所需的能力。增長知識和增益生活能力即是圖書館服務帶給讀者的效益。

實現圖書館的價值
除了利用區域內的圖書館,網路上大量增加的可取得資訊和服務,帶給人們更多不同的選擇來利用資訊,如Google的搜尋引擎、提供各式推薦資源的亞馬遜書店以及其他類型的免費資源衝擊到公共圖書館的服務。再加上因為全球廣泛性的不景氣,影響公共預算縮減,可以理解地方或者其他機構開始質疑納稅義務人投資在公共圖書館的效能表現。

這問題帶出公共服務機關在決策時需要有具體的事證來說明其服務價值,不能用簡單的聲明說公共圖書館的投資是為了市民的整體利益。執政者希望公共圖書館能有具體的證明來表彰服務的重要性。
資訊爆炸和經費縮減兩個趨勢敦促圖書館尋求更具體的發展指標,需要以讀者、社區和整體會社利益為核心。因此無論是「成果評估」、「影響評估」、「價值評估」都是用來看成果指標。

公共和學術圖書館的成果評估
在大學圖書館,成果評估的複雜度比公共圖書館低,主要是學術圖書館的評估向度和交叉複雜度較低。公共圖書館在服務上要能夠兼顧娛樂和教育的目標,而大學的圖書館服務是直指學習、研究和其延伸的社會價值,公共圖書館涉及範圍較大。大學圖書館服務表現在有效的支援教學、高品質研究與其延伸效益,最顯而易見的機制是將圖書館的服務成效連接到大學的成果表現。

發展公共圖書館的成果評估
公共圖書館輸出評估方面,有很多非常好的評估手冊可以用來建立指標,可以仔細定義服務目的和符合成功服務目標的輸出指標。因為圖書館服務內容有城鄉差距,這些手冊不會協助館員直接反應個別的目標,輸出指標和成功標準。如果目標達成或讀者成效彰顯,評估指標會清晰帶出對應數據。在評估過程中,從輸出結果和指標能區分出有貢獻的圖書館服務和計畫相對重要,例如雙軌進行的服務或相互競爭的服務。其中一種方式是從輸出結果所代表的意義上來說明圖書館貢獻,也就是將圖書館服務和希望達到結果連結在一起,把讀者利用服務的張顯意義凸顯出來。綜合言之,增強公共圖書館的成果評估機制可以讓大家更了解公共圖書館對於讀者生活所帶來的好處。



Library Watch
1.  What differences are there between output and outcome evaluations and how would you define them?
 2.  Would you tell us what are the major drivers for the libraries that shifted from output to outcome?
3.  Are there any differences between the outcome dimensions of an academic library to those of a public library?
4.  What are the trends and development challenges for the public library outcome evaluation today?
Pertti
From output to outcome evaluation

Evaluation literature makes a distinction between outputs and outcomes of a system or service. Outputs are the products delivered by a system, whereas outcomes are the benefits the system produces to its users (Rossi, Lipsey & Freeman, 2004). Rubin (2006) specifies the benefits as changes in user knowledge, skills, behavior or attitudes. In the library and information world there is a shift in evaluation paradigm from counting the outputs to observing the outcomes, i.e. the benefits the library brings about in users’ lives.

Earlier it was typical to indicate the library’s influence in its community by observing the number of transactions between users and library be they the number of loans, visits or reference questions answered. This may tell in part to what extent the library reaches its community or the demand of services, but it does not inform how the library benefits its clients.  Instead of counting e.g. the number of book loans, the emphasis is on how the loans benefit readers. Reading a book may e.g. increase one’s knowledge on a topic like the history of Taiwan or help one recovering from daily responsibilities. The growth of personal knowledge and recovery are examples of the benefits the library produces to the users by its outputs.

Manifesting library’s value

The increasing availability of information and services on the Internet has provided people with ample alternatives to paying a visit to the local library. Search engines like Google, recommender systems on sites of book vendors like Amazon and the multitude of free information on the Internet are competing with the services of public libraries. Add to that the public spending cuts due to the current economic recession in large areas of the world, and it becomes understandable that local and other authorities have begun to question the self-evidence of their investment of taxpayers’ money in the public library systems (Vakkari et al. 2014).


The emphasis on evidence-based policy in public decision-making requires service institutions to justify their claims on the value of services to the community and citizens by qualitative or quantitative evidence. It is not enough just to claim e.g. “that investing in the public library is investing in citizens well-being”.  The politicians expect the public library to provide empirical evidence for backing its claims about the importance of services.

These two trends have activated libraries to arrive at indicators for what good the library brings about for its patrons, their communities and society at large. Different terms - outcome measurement, impact assessment or value assessment - are used for what is roughly the same practice for inferring outcome indicators.

Outcomes in public and academic libraries

In academic libraries it is less complicated to derive outcome indicators compared to public libraries. The former have less diffuse outcome dimensions compared to the latter.  The public library is expected to advance a broad range of goals from recreation to learning. At universities it is typical to distinguish between learning, research and external service (societal impact) as the major goals of the activity. Therefore, the outcomes of academic libraries should be related to advancing these goals.  Academic libraries reflect and operationalize how their services support effective learning, high quality research and influential external service. Perhaps most demanding is to explicate the mechanisms, which connect the benefits of library services to the expected outcomes of the university.


Developing public library outcome evaluation

There are excellent manuals for establishing outcome indicators in public libraries. They steer almost by hand the design process of defining service goals, outcome indicators for reaching these goals and criteria of success in goal achievement.  However, the manuals do not liberate the librarians to reflect their own goals, outcome indicators and success criteria, because the context of library services varies considerably between municipalities.  These indicators may produce clear figures of the extent to which the goals are met or to what extent the clients derive benefits from the library. In the assessment process, it is important to distinguish the contribution of a particular library service or program to the outcomes from the impact of other possible factors. These may be e.g. the provisions of parallel, competing services. One means to elaborate the contribution of the library to the outcomes is to sketch models representing the mechanisms, which connect library services to the expected outcomes, i.e. in which way the use of a certain service supports users to derive the intended benefits. In general, reflecting the mechanisms that produce public libraries’ intended outcomes increases our understanding of the benefits the library brings about in users’ lives.


【採訪撰稿 林孟玲】

參考資料:
1.      Inside ASIS&T, Bulletin, December 2012/January 2013 http://www.asis.org/Bulletin/Dec-12/DecJan13_Inside.html
2.      Pertti Vakkari, Google Scholar, http://scholar.google.com/citations?user=eOp9s9wAAAAJ&hl=en
3.      Pertti Vakkari, Perceived outcomes  of public libraries in Finland,(2012) http://www.siob.nl/media/documents/pertti-vakkari-alleen-lezen.pdf
4.      同註3