Ithaka Survey 2014

Cal Poly full-time faculty were sent the internationally recognized Ithaka survey in spring 2014. We received a 19% response rate.

 We are using this data to explore how to:

  • Support new pedagogies;
  • Understand faculty expectations of student research skills and our role in building these skills;
  • Make the most of our journal subscriptions budget;
  • Determine the most appropriate book and journal format, including electronic formats;
  • Support the use of audiovisual, digital media and datasets;
  • Support faculty data preservation and data management needs.

Thank you, faculty, for taking the time to complete this extensive survey.

Executive Summary

A preliminary review of the data confirmed the effectiveness of our work together. Librarians have meaningful relationships with faculty, with 90% of respondents taking a positive view of librarians’ role in helping students develop research skills. The data corroborates the library’s role as central to faculty’s work as researchers. In addition, faculty’s reliance on textbooks demonstrates the importance of our reserves program, and the value OATS may play in providing additional textbooks for our students. Our repository is important for faculty teaching and research, and that importance is growing as more faculty use digital archives in their work. Faculty report that they find it difficult to manage and preserve their research data and media. Many are looking to the library to support them in this challenging area.


Core Services

When asked about the importance of the core services that the library provides, the majority of faculty continue to rate as highly important: [page 44]

  • The library’s role in buying academic journals, books and databases: 87%
  • The library serves as a repository, archiving, tracking and preserving resources: 64%
  • The library helps undergraduates develop research, critical analysis and information literacy skills: 63%
  • The library serves as a gateway for my research: 63%

Books, journals and Databases

90% of faculty are comfortable with abandoning print journals but are more cautious about abandoning print books. Only 16% of faculty believe that it will not be necessary to maintain a print book collection in the next 5 years, but faculty can see the potential of ebooks if they: [page 60]

  • improve the range of access to material: 82%,
  • provide improved usability and navigation: 75%
  • offer improved ability to download and organize a personal collection of material: 70%

Did you know?

Our librarians carefully consider value, usability and digital rights management when buying books and journals. We also work with partner libraries to ensure that future generations of faculty will continue to be able to access information in the long term:

  • We are one of the first libraries in the country to offer book chapters via online interlibrary loan
  • We are active members of the Western Regional Storage Trust (WEST) a print journal repository program which provides a shared print archive.
  • We use the Sustainable Collection Services Greenglass tool to help us manage our collections. Using this tool we can quickly see which titles in our collection are rare and need preservation, and which titles are widely available elsewhere.

Special Collections and Archives

Archive material continues to be of high importance to 1 in 5 faculty for their research and teaching. A major area of growth is in digitized and born digital primary sources: 71% of faculty consider it to be of high importance for teaching and 67% rate it as of high importance for their research. [page 52]

Did you know?

  • Special Collections and Archives gives you access to primary resources on California architecture; environmental, ethnic and local history; the graphic arts; and Cal Poly history. In-house researchers are welcome and SCA offers hands-on instruction sessions
  • 6,500 digitized and born digital photographs, documents, and audio-visual recordings are available online

Undergraduate Research and Critical Analysis

80% of faculty reported concern with their students’ skills in finding and evaluating information for their courses. While the overwhelming majority (85%) of faculty consider it their responsibility to develop these skills, 67% also think that the library has a responsibility in this area. 91% of faculty agree that we contribute to student development in this area, and more than half think that we make a considerable contribution to the development of student research skills. [page 16]

Did you know?

  • During AY 13-14, with a team of LibRATs and librarians, library instruction in General Education A1-A3 courses reached 173 sections with 3,780 participants. 78% of the attendees were first-year students, 19% were sophomores, proving this an effective vehicle for reaching lower division students. The growth for this A1-A3 program amounts to nearly triple the sessions since the program began in AY 09-10. This early exposure to research skills and information literacy instruction acts as scaffolding for more subject-specific disciplinary instruction offered by college librarians at the upper division level.
  • With the addition of Kaila Bussert, foundational experiences librarian, we will explore the development of learning outcomes, integration of multiple literacies including data literacy, visual literacy, and writing, and new deployment strategies.
  • Via various modes (in-person, phone, chat, and email), library faculty, staff, and LibRATs addressed 4,037 questions, representing a 3% rise over the previous year.

A Gateway to Research

Many faculty use a variety of methods to get the articles they need, including leveraging their network of colleagues, their own subscriptions, or freely available material. 87% rely heavily on the library’s collections and 62% often use our interlibrary loan service. A surprising number of faculty pay from their own pocket for books or journal articles: 11% of faculty often buy directly from vendors and 25% do so occasionally. While some of these purchases are likely to be for personal use, we know that some of these purchases may not be necessary.

Did you know?

  • 80% of interlibrary loan requests are fulfilled within 1 day. Nearly 1 in 5 requests are available within one hour
  • When off-campus, using our website to access books and journals is the easiest way to ensure that faculty aren’t prompted to pay for material. Faculty can also set up Google Scholar to show articles and books Cal Poly available through Cal Poly.
Emerging Needs

Data Management

30% – 42% (depending on subject area) faculty strongly agree and 30% – 14% broadly agree that they struggle with the long-term storage of the data that they create in their research. [page 81 and 83].

40% of faculty would find library support for preserving research data extremely valuable [page 77] and 48% would highly value library support in preserving media and image data. Compared to our peer institutions who took the survey, Cal Poly faculty are slightly ahead of their colleagues in thinking about how to preserve data.

Did you know?

  • A collection of templates is available to help you create data management plans that meet institutional and funder requirements. You can find out more from our data management research guide.

Open Access to Educational Resources

69% of faculty agree that open access educational resources play an important role in their teaching, even though 62% find it difficult to locate them. 95% of faculty believe that the library should manage a collection of open access educational resources [page 40]

Did you know?

  • We do! Open Access to Textbooks for Students (OATS) is a collection of textbooks and study guides purchased by the library to support course assigned textbooks and materials. This year, in addition to expanding our print holdings, we have included licensed electronic textbooks (EATS) selected by the college librarians, and freely available open digital textbooks selected by our open education library fellow. In addition to increasing our support for students, these new electronic resources also are available for faculty to use in their courses.
  • Open Education Library Fellow Dana Ospina is working to build a sustainable program for open educational resources. She is working to discover what strategies and programs are best suited to our campus through partnerships with faculty and students. She is also working to leverage existing infrastructure, partnerships, and campus-wide priorities to increase support for the adoption of open and affordable course materials.
  • Together with the University Store, the Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology, and the Disability Resource Center, we were awarded $20,000 to participate in the CSU Affordable Learning Solutions (AL$) initiative. Sponsored by the Office of the Chancellor, this initiative supports the creation of campus partnerships to address issues of choice, affordability, and access to educational resources. This budget support provides the means for Cal Poly to embark upon a year-long campaign to raise visibility and awareness around these issues and introduce alternative models.
View the full survey results
Read the complete Cal Poly Ithaka Survey.

To see how other campuses are using the local Ithaka survey, visit the Ithaka website.

If you have any questions about the results of the survey or would like to know more about how the library is taking action as a result of our findings, contact Sarah Faye Cohen, associate university librarian, at ude.yloplacnull@nehocfs.