Assessment Initiative: Implement MINES

Project Leads: Brendan DeRoo, Konstantin Starikov, and Sarah Struble

MINES Progress Report, 10/14

MINES, Measuring the Impact of Networked Electronic Services, is a survey protocol sponsored by the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) that has been adapted by more than 50 institutions since 2003.  In March, 2014, Boston University Libraries implemented MINES and is currently collecting data on self-reported user demographics and use of subscription-based electronic resources. Every 100th user who logs in to view an online resource is presented with a one-minute, pop-up survey.  As of mid-October, more than 4000 responses, out of our goal of 5000, have been recorded.  With a large enough sample spread out over an entire year, the data will provide a representative sample of the behavior of our users as a whole.


Graduate students make up the largest group of online resource users, with 48% of all online activity stemming from this group. Other prominent users of online resources are undergraduate students (24%) and faculty (13%).  This data will be normalized in the final report to account for the different sizes of the user group populations.


About half of all users reported that coursework was their purpose in accessing online resources. 25% reported their reason was research, and 10% thesis work.  When comparing purposes within user groups, coursework is the main focus of undergraduates, graduates, and high school students.  All other BU affiliates used online resources primarily for research purposes.  For those who reported they were accessing resources for research purposes, we asked whether or not their research was funded.  The split was fairly consistent across users, except for a higher percentage of postdoctoral scholars reporting that their research was funded, and a higher percentage of BMC residents reporting that their research was not funded.


We asked users if they were off campus, on campus in a BU library, or on campus but not in a BU library. With the exception of staff members, believed to be primarily data collected from library staff, few users access online resources inside BU Libraries.

A final report will be published in the spring of 2015, distributed to stakeholders, and posted on the Library’s Assessment website (