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Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Freebie Friday : Padlet

Padlet with origami crane

Recently the AEA365 Evaluation Tip a Day resource the Outreach Evaluation Resource Center (OERC) previously blogged about featured a review and several hot tips for the use of Padlet, a freely available web-based bulletin board system. Their hot tips included use of Padlet as an anonymous brainstorming activity in response to a question or idea, and as a backchannel for students or conference attendees to share resources and raise questions for future discussion.

I took a closer look at Padlet’s bulletin board configuration settings and found them intuitive and easy to use with various backgrounds and freeform, tabular or grid note arrangement display on the bulletin board. Free Padlet accounts can be created by either signing up for one or by linking to an existing Google or Facebook account.  Privacy is a key concern that Padlet delivers many options for that are clearly explained including Private (only you and others you invite to participate via email), requiring the use of a password to access the Padlet, and Public to view, write or moderate. A new update feature includes a variety of ways to share Padlet data, ranging from clicking the icon for 6 different social media channels to downloading data as a PDF or Excel/CSV file for analysis.

Please check out a Padlet about the OERC Evaluation Series and leave your input! Posts will be moderated on the Padlet before they display publicly.

Qualitative Data Visualization

Flowchart of text, text with illustrations, then illustrations leading to additional text

Have you thought that only quantitative information can be used for data visualizations, and qualitative data wasn’t an option without first coding or otherwise turning this valuable content into quantitative formats?

I learned about an innovative and compelling approach to creating qualitative data visualizations with illustrations from Fresh Spectrum . They begin the process (as shown in the illustration above) of taking a long narrative such as a focus group transcription, and chunking it into a few paragraphs per concept with a unique illustration for each one. In this case custom illustrations of people were used, but you could use your organization’s existing images or Creative Commons-licensed images for illustrating concepts. The next step for the visualization uses the images with brief captions as an online data dashboard, where visitors can click on the captioned image of interest to them to then access the more detailed narrative. The author describes how to do this within a WordPress portfolio blog template, or a simpler strategy of creating HTML anchor links to each individual section within a longer text. You can see how this works by clicking on an anchor link from the original post (http://freshspectrum.com/blogging-advice/#davidson for example) that leads to the longer narrative at http://freshspectrum.com/blogging-advice/ (a great source of advice for blogging by the way!)

Need more information about reporting and visualizing your data? We at the Outreach Evaluation Resource Center (OERC) have more resources available for you from the Reporting and Visualizing tab of our Tools and Resources for Evaluation Guide at http://guides.nnlm.gov/oerc/tools and welcome your suggestions and comments about the guide.

Elegantly Simple Evaluation: Documenting Outcomes of a New England Health Literacy Project

For an example of an elegantly simple program evaluation that yielded great results, check out an article by Michelle Eberle and colleagues in the National Network of Libraries of Medicine New England Region, which appeared in the August 2014 edition of MLA News . The article describes the region’s Clear: Conversations project, a collaboration among five organizations in which librarians and health professionals taught health literacy skills to patients. This innovative project, originated by Health Care Missouri, featured role-plays of patients in which they practice good patient communication skills during a visit to a health care provider (played by volunteers from various health professions).

This project shows that a few relatively simple evaluation activities can clearly show the positive outcomes of a project. For example, after their role-play, participants gave high ratings to their satisfaction with the information they received during their “doctor visit.”   When completing the multi-session program, a strong majority said the program improved their comfort with employing effective communication techniques with their own health care providers. More than half of respondents completing the second questionnaire described specific actions they intended to use in future visits to health care providers. Also, the health professional role-players provided their own feedback about how their experiences would affect their own interactions with patients.

The evaluation methods used for the Clear: Conversations project were fairly simple, but well-planned. Eberle and her colleagues developed their evaluation methods in the project planning stage and consulted with the NN/LM OERC on method design. As a result, the team was able to collect information that clearly demonstrated, both to themselves and others, the value of their project.

The OERC would like to highlight more examples of evaluations that are both effective and relatively easy to implement.  If you know of other projects that we can showcase in our Elegantly Simple Evaluation series, please contact Cindy Olney at olneyc@uw.edu.

Art of Analytics Tableau Keynote

Data Analysis is a Creative Process

This week the Outreach Evaluation Resource Center (OERC) enjoyed an intensive time of data information and learning with over 5,500 others during the Tableau Conference in Seattle.

Christian Chabot, Tableau’s CEO, provided the first part of a compelling keynote address of the conference that may seem surprising for a meeting about data: a focus on creativity. Chabot focused on innovation, noting the breakthroughs for technology to first empower user creativity with Adobe’s PostScript (the beginning of desktop publishing), and computer aided design (CAD) instead of relying on subject matter experts to produce the projects in a physical format from start to finish with limited options for revision. He concluded that the world from an artist’s perspective and data analysis perspective are not opposites but that both seek to reveal truth and impart meaning as a part of their work.

For the rest of the keynote Dr. Chris Stolte, Tableau’s Chief Development Officer, showed how in the past software tools required high levels of expertise to use. Dr. Stolte noted that they are trying to incorporate a greater sense of working in a user-friendly way with the data, not the software, to give users creative flow, feedback and flexibility and live demonstrated many new features Tableau has on the horizon.

You can see these demonstrations and learn more about these by watching the keynote recording or the overview Tableau wrote at http://www.tableausoftware.com/about/blog/2014/9/keynote-32970.

New OERC Webinar: Eval 2.0

The OERC debuted a brand new webinar for the NN/LM Greater Midwest Region’s monthly Lake Effects webinar series on August 21. The new webinar, Evaluation 2.0: Trends, New Ideas, Cool Tools, presents emerging trends in evaluation practice that emphasize stakeholder interaction and social engagement. It also covers popular tools and methods that allow you to draw others into the evaluation process and raise the visibility of your program or services. The NN/LM GMR makes recordings of Lake Effects presentations publicly available, so click here to listened to the  Eval 2.0 webinar.

If you are interested in attending a live presentation of this webinar, please contact the OERC or your National Network of Libraries of Medicine regional office. Descriptions of other  OERC webinars that can be offered upon request are listed here.

Cover slide for Eval 2.0 presentation

Some Great Examples of Library Dashboards

At the Library Assessment Conference in August, one panel featured assessment librarians presenting data dashboards they created using Tableau software. Our colleagues often ask OERC staff  for good examples of library dashboards, so I am excited that the PowerPoint slides of Tableau Unleashed: Visualizing Library Data are publicly available . This document includes views of dashboards from University of British Columbia Library (by presenter Jeremy Buhler), UMass Amherst Libraries (by Rachel Lewellen) and Ohio State Libraries (by Sarah Murphy). All of the presenters used Tableau software to produce their dashboards.

Tableau may be the most popular software for creating dashboards right now and the company offers a free version that has a great deal of functionality. In fact, at least one presenter (Sarah Murphy) included dashboards she created using Tableau Public. However, users must be cautioned that any data entered into Tableau Public become public information.  That means anyone can see and download your raw data. So, if you use it, be sure all identifying information about individuals is stripped from your files and that you are comfortable with other people downloading your raw data.

The presenters included some tips for dashboard design, which you will find in their slides.  If you want more comprehensive guidance, check out A Guide to Creating Dashboards People Love to Use by Juice Analytics. The guide is free and downloadable.

Cover slide for Tableau Unleashed

Freebie Friday: Presentations from the Library Assessment Conference

ARL Library Assessment Conference 2014 digital badge for your website and/or blog

We here at the Outreach Evaluation Resource Center (OERC) and 600 others enjoyed a fabulous week of learning and engagement during the 2014 Library Assessment Conference at the University of Washington in Seattle. We will be covering some of the great assessment resources and information shared here in our blog (http://nnlm.gov/evaluation/blog/) that are of interest to National Network of Library of Medicine (NN/LM) network members.

In the meantime you may be interested in the freely available copies of most of the conference presentations that are posted on the main program schedule website at http://libraryassessment.org/schedule/index.shtml  along with photos of the poster session, which will soon be available at http://libraryassessment.org/schedule/2014-posters.shtml.

Data Visualizations at Information is Beautiful

The OERC will be attending the Library Assessment Conference (LAC) at University of Washington this week, where we will be learning about new trends in library assessment, evaluation, and improvement. Stayed tuned to our blog and we will pass along what we learn. The LAC is sponsored by the Association of Research Libraries.

In the meantime, I want to leave you with a fun data visualization site to explore while we’re gone.  David McCandless creates wonderful infographics for his site “Information is Beautiful.”  Many are health-related. All are gorgeous.  You can find the list of his data visualizations here.

 

A Guide for Conducting Community Conversations

Planning focus groups? You might want to check out the Libraries Transforming Communities Community Conversation Workbook by the American Library Association (ALA).

This workbook is a resource developed for the ALA’s Libraries Transforming Communities (LTC) initiative, which provides librarians with training and resources to enhance their roles as community leaders and change-agents. The initiative’s goal is to help librarians promote the visibility and value of their libraries within their communities. Public discussions are promoted as key community engagement strategies.

To that end, ALA has developed the Libraries Transforming Communities Community Conversation Workbook. This workbook provides invaluable guidance to anyone who wants to conduct discussion groups for community assessment purposes. It provides practical advice on every aspect of convening group discussions, including tips on participant recruitment, a list of discussion questions, facilitator guidelines, note-taking tools, and templates for organizing key findings.

Demonstrating value is of considerable interest to many libraries and organizations these days. Such organizations may be interested in exploring other articles and resources related to the LTC initiative. You can find more information about the initiative at the LTC web page. You can also see how libraries are implementing LTC activities at the initiative’s digital portal:

Freebie Friday: Visualization Literacy

With an increase of technology tools available for data reporting and visualization (be sure to check out some of our Outreach Evaluation Resource Center Reporting and Visualizing tools at http://guides.nnlm.gov/oerc/tools) sometimes it’s challenging to know how to best use them to clearly communicate the intended meaning of the data. The concept of visualization literacy and a broader theme of visual literacy are often not included as part of the instructions guiding people in the steps to create their own visualization design.

A recent entry by Andrew Kirk on the blog of Seeing Data, a research project in the United Kingdom studying how people understand big data visualizations shown in the media, offers a great review of 8 Articles Discussing Visual and Visualization Literacy that are freely available and well worth a read to better understand both visual and visualization literacy. Their featured articles include resources ranging from the importance of Visual Literacy in an Age of Data to How to Be an Educated Consumer of Infographics, and Seeing Data has asked that you share additional ones with them via blog comments or their Twitter social media account @SeeingData.