How is the MINES for Libraries® survey conducted?

MINES is a Web-based transactional survey that is presented to the user as the first digital resource is selected for viewing. Users are only queried once per online session, while data is tracked to reflect the use of multiple resources. The MINES protocol recognizes and addresses the problem of non-respondents to Web surveys and represents a random sample, allowing institutions to make inferences about the population. Ideally, the survey is administered in real time over the course of a year in periodic two hour time blocks using a random moments sampling plan; different time periods can be utilized.

The participating library or consortium is responsible for implementing the survey’s technical infrastructure, so that a comprehensive sampling plan can survey all electronic service users, regardless of their point of entry (OPAC, library Web, etc.). ARL provides advice and recommendations for setting up the library’s assessment infrastructure to increase the number of potential survey respondents. Successful local assessment infrastructures have included IP validating scripts, scripts generating links for databases and journals, and OpenURL technologies. Two of the more comprehensive assessment infrastructures involve placing the survey at the campus router or using EZproxy, a widely adopted, re-writing proxy server. Any library running EZproxy can locally implement an application that presents the MINES survey to networked users as they initiate a session and captures networked services usage both locally and remotely during the sampled time periods.

ARL provides advice on the local setup and local questions, validates and analyzes the data, and prepares a final report. At the conclusion of the survey period, the library or consortium receives an analysis that provides insights on the impact of networked electronic services by analyzing the use of digital resources and identifying the demographics and purpose of use. The fee for MINES for Libraries® ranges from $7,000 to $15,000 per year, depending on the length of the implementation and the final deliverables.