Data Visualization on the (Mostly) Cheap — Or, Lessons Learned from a Data Dashboard Project

Like many libraries, ours has storehouses full of operations data. However, challenges frequently arise when trying to analyze data from across frequently siloed and proprietary data sources in a timely manner. Available toolsets, meanwhile, leave us wishing for more — many apps handle data from specific products or only harvest specific types of data. Other apps are extremely expensive and/or require steep learning curves. Our goal was to find a sustainable workflow for analyzing, then publishing our data and visualizations in a data dashboard, so our entire library staff and administration could reliably use the data to better plan our services and communicate our worth with our community. In this session, we will share the lessons learned from our dashboard project and how they could be applied in libraries of any size. These lessons include doing an environmental scan of all the data used in our library, and methods of harvesting, analysis, and publishing our interdepartmental data for easy access and comprehension. Finally, we will offer demonstrations of the data applications we use in our workflow with pros and cons of their use.

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Oct 21 2023


3:45 pm - 4:45 pm




  • Jerry Yarnetsky
    Jerry Yarnetsky
    Web Services Librarian, Miami University Libraries

    Jerry Yarnetsky is a web services librarian at Miami University of Ohio where he focuses on user experience, information architecture, and accessibility. He also regularly teaches a course on interaction design and development at Miami. He’s previously worked as a librarian and interim library director at Montgomery County (Pa.) Community College and as a journalist/editor in a previous career.

  • Richard Wisneski
  • Rob O'Brien Withers
    Rob O'Brien Withers
    Access Services Librarian, Miami University

    Rob O’Brien Withers has been Access Services Librarian at Miami University for 10 years. He previously worked as Assistant to the Dean / Electronic Services Librarian (1998-2010), Head of Systems and Technical Services (Western Maryland College, 1996-1998), and in several paraprofessional positions at the University of North Carolina (1991-1996). He has published in Against the Grain, College & Research Libraries News, College and Undergraduate Libraries, Library Cataloging, Acquisitions and Technical Services, and Reference & User Services Quarterly and presented at the American Library Association, Brick and Click, Computers in Libraries, Educause Midwest, High Ed Web, Internet Librarian, LOEX, and NASIG.