Quetelet and Parachuting Cats: Data Lessons for Libraries

Source: Ray Lyons, Public Library Quarterly, Volume 35, Issue 2, 2016
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From the abstract:
As champions of information literacy, libraries and information professionals encourage users to assess the accuracy, trustworthiness, and relevance of information. The rationale behind current efforts to demonstrate library value based on empirical evidence is consistent with this professional stance. Yet, national library advocacy and research efforts routinely promote inaccurate, insubstantial, or irrelevant data to support claims made on behalf of libraries. This practice works at cross-purposes with the aim of making as strong a case about library effectiveness as possible. When we ignore the basic requirements for gathering sound evidence, the quality of our advocacy arguments suffer. This article analyzes two advocacy efforts that have been undermined by inattention to the rules of empirical evidence.