Decisions Blog

Archive for June, 2009

Zen – Many thanks

Over the last few months we have consulted extensively on the subject of Management Information under the heading of Project Zen.

Zen_prototype Screen dumpThis research project was aimed at developing a prototype to validate the demand for a new dashboard-style application for Talis Alto customers.  I want to thank everyone who provided input into this valuable exercise. Our conclusion based on feedback indicates that whilst there is interest in this approach, there would probably not be widespread demand for a product, given the development cost and thus price points. Consequently we will not be moving this research project into a product at this time. 

However, we also found a strong interest in customers getting more value from their current Talis Decisions application, so we will be focusing our efforts in areas such as aggregating additional data sources from related applications such as PC bookings, and reviewing what we offer through Consultancy to help customers set up Business Objects to meet their reporting requirements. 

Performance Management in Singapore


I’ve recently been reading a case study on Performance Management at Lee Kong Chian Reference Library in Singapore: part of the National Library of Singapore.

Singapore recognises that it’s future prosperity depends upon the knowledge-based skills of its citizens. LKC is a reference library and a key success factor for it is the speed and accuracy of answering queries from the public. This is reflected in LKC’s Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

LKC occupies about 14,000 square metres (about 3 times the area of Norwich Millennium Library, a bit smaller than the new library at Queens university Belfast, and about half the size of the proposed new Birmingham library).

The KPIs tracked by LKC make interesting reading. They include

  1. Visitor counts (including virtual visits – more than 80% of Singaporean households have wireless broadband)
  2. Ratio of compliments to complaints
  3. Number of collaborations (non-commercial partnerships, sponsorships, donations etc)
  4. Number of reference and research enquiries
  5. Elapsed time to respond to queries (in several categories)
  6. Customer satisfaction index (based on survey data)
  7. Number of Promotional activities (particularly collection tours)
  8. Publishing (in house guides, articles, collection guides, book reviews by Librarians etc)

The KPIs persist from year to year: the actual values are revised annually, and tracked by specific reporting.

For many managers, knowing what data to track is itself an issue. Regardless of the relevance of these specific KPIs in other libraries, the overall approach outlined here appears to be very powerful.

Nielsen Libscan Service Rolling Out

Nielsen Book offer a service to the book trade to measure/monitor retail sales of books. This service (BookScan) uses Sales data from bookshops and other book outlets to provide a composite picture of popularity by title and author.

For some time Nielsen have been running a pilot named Libscan (in which at least one Talis library is participating) to do the same thing with Library Loan data extracted from the LMS. They are now on the point of rolling this service out more widely.  Data Download


The principle is simple: participating libraries send in a few fields from their LMS loan data….


Report Upload


…and in return get reports based on the data.



Loan statistics for a single library could of course be generated using Talis Decisions – and embellished further with a host of other factors such as Borrower age band or issuing Operator. What the Nielsen service potentially provides however is a pan-library-authority view which no single library could generate on its own.