Peaks and troughs in borrowing

A good couple of years ago, I blogged about “lending paths”, but we’ve not really progressed things any further since then. I still like the idea that you can somehow predict books that people might/should borrow and also when you might get a sudden rush of demand on a particular title.
Anyway, whilst heading back up north after the “Library Domain Model” workshop, I got wondering about whether we could use historical circulation data to manage the book stock more effectively.
Here’s a couple of graphs — the first is for “Strategic management: awareness and change” (Thompson, 1997) and the second is for “Strategic management: an analytical introduction” (Luffman, 1996)…


The orange bars are total number of times the book has been borrowed in that particular month. The grey bars show how many times we’d have expected the book to be loaned in that month if the borrowing for that book had followed the global borrowing trends for all stock.
Just to explain that it a little more depth — by looking at the loans for all of our stock, we can build up a monthly profile that shows the peaks and troughs throughout the academic year. If I know that a particular book has been loaned 200 times, I can have a stab at predicting what the monthly breakdown of those 200 loans would be. So, if I know that October accounts for 20% of all book loans and July accounts for only 5%, then I could predict that 40 of those 200 loans would be from October (200 x 20%) and that 10 would be from July (200 x 5%). Those predictions are the grey bars.
For both of the books, the first thing that jumps out is the disconnect between the actual (orange) number of loans in May and the prediction (grey). In other words, both books are unusually popular (when compared to all the other books in the library) in that month. So, maybe in March or April, we should think about taking some of the 2 week loan copies and changing them to 1 week loans (and then change them back in June), especially if students have had to place hold requests in previous years.


For some reason, I didn’t take any photos at the “Library Domain Model” event itself, but I did do the “tourist thing” on the South Bank…
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JISC Developer Happiness Days (dev8D)

For my sins, I’m going to be facilitating the OPAC Community Meeting at the JISC Developer Happiness Days event in London next week.
Although we’ve got “OPAC” in the name, I think the session should include anything to do with library catalogues, library usage data, MARC records, federated search engines, revelancy ranking, facets, etc
We’d like to kick the session of with several “Minute Madness” talks. If you’re considering coming along to the session, and you meet any of the following criteria, please add your name to wiki!

  • you’ve done something cool with your OPAC
  • you’d like to do something cool with your OPAC
  • you’d like a soapbox to rant about how much your OPAC sucks
  • you’d just like an opportunity to rant about something
  • you’re in need of a new soapbox
  • you’ve got a box of soap
  • you’re in need of a box of soap
  • you’re intending to steal all of the soap from your hotel room
  • you’d like to steal all of the soap from your hotel room, but you need to a box to put it all in

Remember — if you don’t volunteer, then we’ll need to unleash the JISC Press Gang 😉
Hopefully we’ll then be able to use the topics raised by the lightning talks to help shape the rest of the session.

Stuck on a train

The joys of free wifi slightly make up for the fact that I’m stuck on a train that’s going nowhere fast — the East Coast main line is suffering long delays due to the train which was ahead of mine managing to damage and bring down the overhead power lines :-S
Today was the first meeting for the JISC Towards Implementation of Library 2.0 and the e-Framework (TILE), held at the impressive LSE Library in London.
I’m still not 100% sure what the TILE Project will manage to achieve, but it was great to spend 4 hours in a room full of people who are keen to liberate and share library data, primarily for the benefit of our users.
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Online Information 2007 – Day One

Shhhhhh – I’m trying to type very quietly, whilst sat at the back of the room whilst a presentation is going on 😉
I finally managed to get myself onto the free wi-fi at Online Information 2007, so just a quick blog post in case I lose the connection!
If anyone at the conference wants to chat, there’s always Gabbly.
I’ve also got a lovely new box of Moo cards, which I hope to give out.
By the way, if anyone wants to recommend a decent non-expensive restaurant somewhere near Kensington or Bayswater, then please do!

Internet Librarian International 2007

Really wished I could have stayed for the second day of Internet Librarian International 2007, but had to be back in Huddersfield today before heading off to Wolverhampton Science Park tomorrow.
My ILI presentation is available on SlideShare and I’ve uploaded some photographs to Flickr.
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What a day!

I’m finally back home, 15 hours after setting off at an unmentionable hour to travel down to the CILIP event in London today. I’m a creature of habit, and my habit is to wake up gradually at about 6:45am in the morning — getting up at 5am just doesn’t feel right 😀
I’m too knackered to write very much, but a big thank you to everyone involved for giving me the chance to show off some of our OPAC tweaks, and thanks to everyone who chatted to me or took one of my moo cards!
It was also great to finally meet Tim Hodson (Information Takes Over) in the flesh. Isn’t it weird meeting someone you’ve never seen before but whose blog you read on a regular basis? It might just be me, but UK library bloggers rarely seem to include a photograph of themselves. If I was to include a picture of myself, I’d choose this picture (which isn’t of me, but I like to pretend it might be because his name is “Davey” too)…

I thoroughly enjoyed all of the speakers today, but (am I allowed to pick a favourite?) I really really enjoyed Antony Brewerton‘s session — I can’t remember the last time I’ve laughed so much during a presentation!
I’ve uploaded the final version of my presentation to http://webcat.hud.ac.uk/cilip/ and there’s also a few photographs on Flickr (unfortunately I left my rucksack at the front of the room after my session, so I couldn’t take any photographs in the afternoon). If you’ve ever wanted to see what a sunrise over Huddersfield gasworks looks like, then you won’t be disappointed!!!
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