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Library Value Toolkit: Glossary

Want definitions?

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Confused by all the terminology? 

Use this brief glossary for help!

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Image courtesy of [Master isolated images] /


Selected Definitions (from a variety of sources)

Program, Service, Activity, or Intervention

Balanced Scorecard
A performance management tool that allows for KPI's to be summarized in a track-able visual format.

A Standard against which program processes or outcomes can be compared.

Cost-Benefit Analysis
Compare costs of a program to outcomes, translated into monetary value.

Cost-Effectiveness Analysis
Compare costs of program to outcomes measured in non-monetary units, such as improved patron satisfaction.

Critical Incident Technique/Critical Value Incident
We've modified this from the idea of a Critical Incident Technique, a research method that very simply focuses on a particular moment.  The Critical Value Incident focuses on a specific instance where  Libraries, their staff and/or services were integral for solving a problem or adding to the overall value of their organization. 

Collect data, analyze and interpret, report.
Assess planning, implementation and outcomes.

Impact Measures
Determine if program made a difference.
Assess overall effect, intended or unintended, of the program as a whole.
Per Brettle et al., Conduct the evaluation some time after the event to determine actual use.

Observable and measurable expression of what will be measured to demonstrate achievement or performance.

Key Performance Indicator (KPI)
Specific items identified to evaluate the potential success of operational goals.
Often used in balanced scorecards

Logic Model
When planning evaluation activities, it provides a systematic and visual way to chart the relationships among:
Resources Available; Activities; Anticipated Outcomes and Impact.

Your overall purpose, what business are you in, what do you hope to achieve?

Outcome Measures
Assess the degree to which program objectives and goals are met.
Assess if defined program target outcomes met.

Process Measures
Measure program activities. Quantitative or qualitative.

Qualitative Evaluation
Based on narrative, non numerical data

Quantitative Evaluation
Based on numerical data

ROI (Return on Investment)
For libraries, the cost of the organization purchasing the resources or services Ellesmere as a percentage of the amount invested in library resources, for example a journal collection.

An instrument to gather information through the use of a questionnaire.

Strategic Plan
A systematic way of long term planning, including defining a Mission, Vision and Values

Predefined, core items that will permeate everything you do to reach your vision and fulfill your mission.  Though your vision or mission might change, the core values usually remain very similar from one strategic plan to another.

Where you're headed, and what will your business (mission) be like in 5 years (or however long your Stragetgic plan is relevant) and how you plan on getting there