Circulation Data Spectacular!

In Summer 2010, CUL’s ReCAP Coordinator led an internship project to analyze circulation data.  Intern Steve Zweibel organized, summarized and visualized system-wide circulation data provided by LITO staff.  Data represents circulation activity for both on-site and off-site collections; it is not ReCAP-specific. 

The goal of the project was to present his findings to professional staff to aid data-driven decisions.  The products were a tightly composed PowerPoint presentation that includes observations and some analysis and an invitation from OCLC to co-present a webinar Managing Collections in the Networked Environment: New Analytical Approaches.

Included here are three example charts of data.  The first represents the total volume of charges to CUL’s primary patron groups (Undergraduate, Graduates, Faculty and Visitors) organized by fiscal year.  The second represents the monthly patterns of the same data.  The third is the percentage circulation of Offsite collections, which has grown from 2.3% to 6.1% over the lifespan of ReCAP.

Congratulations Steve Zweibel on graduation and finding professional employment at NYU and Hunter College!

Observations from data:

  • Overall circulation volume has decline 18.6% since 2003, but has held steady for the past three years
  • Circulation activity is in phase with the academic calendar
  • Graduate student usage peaks a month before Undergraduate
  • Renewals are in phase with loan period due dates
  • Policy changes are reflected in data: 4-week to 1-term loan period for Undergraduates, assignation of Faculty (OFF) privileges to Graduates serving as Adjunct Faculty, and ability to renew/recall/hold via CLIO
  • Renewal to Charge ratio *much* higher for Faculty than other patron groups
  • Shift towards online (OPAC) renewal and recall represent learning curve as users adapt to new technology
  • Undergraduates charge and renew fewer books due to extended loan periods
  • An increasing percentage of circulation activity involves Offsite collections, but has held steady for the past three years


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