Assessing the Diversity of Our E-Collection: An Update

Update: The final report of this project is available on LMU Digital Commons.

Aisha Conner-Gaten, Javier Garibay, Jamie Hazlitt, Marie Kennedy and Marisa Ramirez were awarded an Inclusive Excellence Grant from LMU’s University Intercultural Council to assess the diversity of the e-collection of the William H. Hannon Library. In an effort to ensure that library collections align with the our institutional vision (as “bridging disciplines” and “representing diverse topics and perspectives”) and to meet the research needs of our diverse campus population, the team has been designing a project to assess the library’s electronic collection through the lens of diversity. While some similar studies have been done at larger research institutions, this project will further interrogate inclusivity in database collections and integrate LMU student learning into the research process.

A select group of library student employees will be working this spring semester to use a series of keyword phrases to search through about two-hundred of the library’s databases. The keyword phrases will be coded into categories of diversity, so that the library can better understand its e-resource collection. Categories like “Disability”, “People of Color”, and “Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender”, will be used to determine if these categories are represented in the collection. In addition to conducting the keyword phrase searches, the student evaluation team will respond to reflective prompts along the way, answering questions like, “Based on the search results, do you consider the database to be ‘diverse’?” and “Would you recommend this database to someone doing research about diversity or inclusion, in your major? Why or why not?”

The research team is eager to see the results of the keyword searching, to know if the library’s collection represents diversity at the level desired, or if there are gaps in the electronic resource collection that can be strategically filled. The results of this study will be shared with the library’s management team, the faculty library representatives in academic departments, and within the profession through a proposed poster or conference presentation in the future.