Are books becoming more important?

Being a shamistician, rather than a statistician, I’m not sure how much importance to attach to this, but I thought it was interesting enough to share!
The JISC Library Impact Data Project has given us an opportunity to churn through our usage data again and, following on from the last blog post, we’ve been looking at the statistical significance (if any!) of the correlations we’re finding in the data.
The book loan data for the last 5 years of undergrads (who graduated with a specific honour) has a small overall Pearson correlation of -0.17 (see this blog post for an explanation of why it’s negative) with a high statistical significance (p-value of 0). However, when we looked at just the 2009/10 data (which is the period the other project partners are providing data for), we found a stronger correlation (-0.20).
If we go a step further and look at the Pearson correlation each year, there appears to be a possible underlying trend at Huddersfield…
If you accept that there might be a trend there (with the Pearson correlation value increasing over time), then it raises an interesting question… are books becoming an increasingly more important part of achieving a higher grade?

5 years of book loans and grades

I’m just starting to pull our data out for the JISC Library Impact Data Project and I thought it might be interesting to look at 5 years of grades and book loans. Unfortunately, our e-resource usage data and our library visits data only goes back as far as 2005, but our book loan data goes back to the mid 1990s, so we can look at a full 3 years of loans for each graduating students.
The following graph shows the average number of books borrowed by undergrad students who graduated with an specific honour (1, 2:1, 2:2 or 3) in that particular academic year…
…and, to try and tease out any trends, here’s a line graph version….
Just a couple of general comments:

  • the usage & grade correlation (see original blog post) for books seems to be fairly consistent over the last 5 years, although there is a widening in the usage by the lowest & highest grades
  • the usage by 2:2 and 3 students seems to be in gradual decline, whilst usage by those who gain the highest grade (1) seems to on the increase