Association of Research Libraries

Association of Research Libraries

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The Association of Research Libraries is an organization
An organization is a social group which distributes tasks for a collective goal. The word itself is derived from the Greek word organon, itself derived from the better-known word ergon - as we know `organ` - and it means a compartment for a particular job.There are a variety of legal types of...

 of the leading research
Research can be defined as the scientific search for knowledge, or as any systematic investigation, to establish novel facts, solve new or existing problems, prove new ideas, or develop new theories, usually using a scientific method...

In a traditional sense, a library is a large collection of books, and can refer to the place in which the collection is housed. Today, the term can refer to any collection, including digital sources, resources, and services...

 in North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

. As of October 2006, it comprises 123 libraries at comprehensive, research-intensive institutions in the US and Canada that share similar missions, aspirations, and achievements. ARL member libraries make up a large portion of the academic and research library marketplace, spending more than one billion dollars every year on library materials.

The ARL Statistics and Measurement Program, through its annually published ARL Statistics, monitors the collections, expenditures, staffing, and services of member libraries of the Association. Statistics have been collected and published annually since 1961-62 and serve as indicators of the costs of serials and monographs as well as of the state of funding for research libraries.

The ARL Annual Salary Survey monitors salaries for more than 12,000 professional positions in member libraries. These data are used to determine whether salaries are competitive, equitable across institutions and personal characteristics, and adjusted for inflation. The survey also tracks minority representation in ARL U.S. libraries and reports separate data for law and health sciences libraries. Statistics have been collected and published annually since 1980.

Models for measurement and evaluation that address issues of service quality, electronic resource usage and value, and outcomes assessment have also been developed. LibQUAL+ is the most mature of these models. It is a suite of services that libraries use to solicit, track, understand, and act upon users' opinions of service quality. LibQUAL+ has been implemented in more than 1000 libraries across the world. Results have been used to develop a better understanding of perceptions of library service quality, interpret user feedback systematically over time, and identify best practices across institutions.

Other assessment and evaluation projects and services are available through the ARL Statistics and Measurement Program.

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