Research: The Reading Agency’s Digital Research Report

The Reading Agency’s Digital Research Report (see article in this month’s Cilip Update) contains some interesting statistics on the current level of digital engagement in UK public libraries.

The news is positive in terms of engagement – a majority of libraries (66.7%) use online resources for marketing, and 59.6% provide wifi access. Many also use digital resources in reading activities (65.5% use digital photographs, 32.7% use Twitter), and 40.4% “use social media to engage with young people”.

But work still needs to be done to promote the proper application of digital media. Training is patchy, and over 98% of respondents don’t have a digital strategy.

Using digital media is all well and good, but if you don’t apply it appropriately you won’t get the most out of it. Rather than eagerly jumping on the digital bandwagon, it pays to consider the best (and most cost-effective) ways your library can utilise digital media first.

Resources: Eurostat

A representative of Eurostat‘s media support team paid a visit to the office to talk us through their statistics database. It can be hard sometimes to locate specific stats on an unfamiliar website, particularly if you are up against a tight deadline, so it was good to get an overview of the type of data stored and the different ways you can search Eurostat.

  • Eurostat is the central store for EU and EFTA countries’ stats, the central institute of the European Statistics System
  • Data from NSIs go to Eurostat, are harmonised, they compile Euro aggregates, then disseminate (mainly web only)
  • Euro Indicators are regularly released economic indicators – they always cover the EU and sometimes extend further if comparable stats are available – unemployment, GDP, trade, inflation etc – deficit and debt released every April and Oct
  • Also release ad hocs as and when – GDP per capita, population, tax trends, the yearbook, for Women’s Day etc
  • Don’t cover Eurobarometer surveys (DG Comm), EU budget figures (DG Budget, Inforegio for regional figs), tax rates (DG Taxud – who has highest/lowest VAT etc)
  • Their remit is to report stats independently and neutrally, without a political agenda
  • Release calendar is issued every Oct
  • Time series usually go back to the 1990s across all countries, as that’s when the data was harmonised, but goes much further for some countries
  • DG Ecfin has time series data for some economic indicators but not complete as not comparable
  • Microdata isn’t on the site – could be used to identify individuals eg surveys; can get access for research purposes only

To use the site:

  • Country profiles (from home page) – compare a country to EU ave etc;  only most recent data; can then link to table of data to download
  • Data in Focus (from home page) – online PDF releases of topics of data; links to data files
  • Stats in Focus (from home page) – text, analysis as well as numbers; links to data files
  • Statistics tab – organised by themes and sub-themes; click on a theme, links down the side give related datasets; click through the hierarchy
  • Search – the homepage and the whole site – can search publications, datasets or metadata – or just search in the database

To use the Statistics Database:

  • go into pre-defined tables, click on topic, work through the hierarchy to get a table of data, access to maps, graphs, can set parameters and download
  • go into database, use the data tool to extract data; can set own parameters, display format etc