Measures and Metrics: Domain: Events

Update: The comment period for Version 1 closed on August 22, 2016. Version 2 will be released for comments in January 2017. Archivists and special collections librarians should direct further comments to Task Force co-chairs Amy Schindler (SAA) and Christian Dupont (ACRL/RBMS).

Basic Measure (“Number of Events”)

Count the number of Events organized by staff including instruction sessions, presentations, tours, and other Events, typically with a literary, cultural, or educational intent.

Guidelines for collection:

  • Each section of a term-long course is counted as a separate Instruction Session.

  • Curatorial tours, lectures, receptions, and other related Exhibition Events that are organized by the Repository are counted as separate Events apart from the Exhibition installation itself. See also Exhibitions domain.

Application and examples:

  • A talk is given to a friends group and is repeated at a later date to a community organization. This would count as two Events.

  • A historical society installs an Exhibition that is open for three months. It also hosts an opening reception, hosts two evening lectures that are related to the Exhibition content, and offers a monthly curator’s chat for the Exhibition each month it is on display. The historical society would tally a total of 6 Events: 1 opening reception, 2 evening lectures, and 3 monthly curator chats. The Exhibition would be counted separately in the Exhibitions domain.

  • In the case of a term-long course that uses the Repository’s holdings and is taught or co-taught by Repository staff, each class meeting is counted as a separate Event. If the course meets twice a week for ten weeks, this would be twenty Events.

Advanced Measure (“Number of Attendees”)

Count the number of individuals who attend an Event.

Guidelines for collection:

  • Attendees can be tallied manually by creating an exact or approximate count of the number of visitors who attend Events.

  • Viewers of live online sessions, webcasts, or similar should be counted here. Repositories may count using Online Interactions advance measure Social Media Engagement when appropriate, such as number of ongoing viewers of a pre-recorded lecture on YouTube.

Application and examples:

  • If a course with 24 registered students visits the Repository for an Instruction Session, but only 20 of the students are present count the number of students who attend not the total number expected.

  • If a Repository requests RSVPs, if possible, count only the number of people who actually attend the Event.

  • Repositories may wish to include demographic information about attendees when available. See also User Demographics domain.

Advanced Measure (“Type of Event”)

Categorize the type of Events organized by staff, hosted by the Repository, or at which staff present. Events may include classroom session, instruction sessions, lectures (by staff or others), other presentations, performances (musical, theatrical, or other), receptions, tours, open houses, donor Events, and other Events and activities. The Events may or may not specifically relate to the Repository’s holdings or staff expertise.

Guidelines for collection:

  • A classroom session is a visit by a class in which material is used to support the course, but staff do not provide instruction, which distinguishes it from an instruction session.

  • For individual one-on-one instruction, see Research Consultation.

  • Events may typically, but not exclusively, have a literary, cultural, or educational intent.

Application and examples:

  • A Repository is hosting an Event that includes a reception before a lecture. This would be counted as one Event and categorized as a lecture event not a reception because the substantive portion of the event is the lecture.

  • A donor recognition reception that includes brief remarks or presentation by staff would be categorized according to the substantive part of the event, which in this example would be as a reception.

Advanced Measure (“Event Preparation Time”)

Track the time spent preparing for an Event. This could include research, retrieving material, conservation treatments for items to be displayed, preparing remarks, publicity, set-up, or similar activities.

Guidelines for collection:

  • Record the measure in hours and fractions of an hour or minutes.

Application and examples:

  • An increasing amount of time spent preparing for Events could point to the need to alter staffing to meet needs related to publicity and marketing, event preparation, facility preparation, or similar activities.

  • The amount of time required to prepare for different types of Events (instruction sessions vs. lectures, tours vs. open houses, Wikipedia Edit-A-Thons vs. presentations, etc.) could assist the Repository in future Event planning especially when paired with other measures such as number of attendees or other outcomes such as media coverage, donations, etc.

Advanced Measure (“Length of Event”)

Measure the total duration of the Event.

Guidelines for collection:

  • Record the measure in hours and fractions of an hour or minutes.

  • Calculate the total length of time an Event lasts. For starting and ending times, use the time when the Event is scheduled to begin and end. Do not include setup or arrival (e.g., “doors open at”) times or breakdown and cleanup times. Do include question-and-answer period, receptions, and other segments that include Event attendees that are advertised or intended to be part of the Event.

Application and examples:

  • Your Repository is hosting a public lecture given by a popular local author. Invitations and announcements for the event indicate that the event will start at 6:00pm with doors opening at 5:30pm. The announcement also mentions that a reception will follow the lecture. Staff arrive at the event location at 5:00pm to ensure that audio-visual equipment is working. Staff signal the caterers to begin cleaning up at 7:45pm as the last attendees are leaving. Staff secure the location and go home at 8:30pm. In this case, the total length of the event should be recorded as 1.75 hours or 105 minutes.

  • A faculty member has arranged to bring her students to your Repository for an interactive instruction session. According to the course schedule, the class is scheduled to start at 1:50pm and end at 2:40pm. A few students linger afterwards to take a closer look at some of the materials that were shown and ask the staff member questions. They leave at 2:45pm. The total length of the event may be recorded as either 50 minutes or 55 minutes. For the sake of ease and consistency in collecting statistics, it may be more practical to apply a policy of calculating event length using the published course hours rather than trying to capture the length of engagements that begin early or “spill over” the official end time.

Recommended metrics

Total Events per day/week/month/year

  • Graphing the total number of Events over a given period of time can reveal patterns of usage, outreach, and public interest.

  • Comparing the total number of Events per day/week/month/year for multiple years can reveal fluctuations in usage levels and other trends.

Average number of Events per day/week/month/year

  • Calculating the average number of Events for a given period of time can provide a baseline metric for comparing activity levels between different departments or repositories.

Average items used per Event

  • For Events that involve temporary displays or presentations of collection materials, such as instruction sessions or donor Events, calculating the average number of items used per Event can provide insights into the degree to which collection materials are exposed through Events.

Average preparation time per items used for an Event

  • Calculating the average time spent preparing items for Events can point to staffing needs and potential adjustments to staffing levels based on increasing or decreasing numbers of Events sponsored by the Repository.

Average attendees per Event

  • Calculating the average number of attendees per Event can provide a consistent index for comparing attendance across Events of the same type or during different periods. For example, it might be useful to compare the average number of attendees at all lecture programs from year to year to gauge the success of program series and promotion.

Average preparation time per Event

  • Calculating the average amount of time staff spend preparing for and staffing Events can provide insights into the level of staffing needed to maintain or grow a Repository’s Events program.

Average preparation time per attendee

  • Tracking the average amount of time staff spend preparing for Events per attendee can point to the effectiveness of the infrastructure in place to support outreach and specific programming. The data could help staff select Events with a higher impact level as calculated by the amount of staff time invested and the number of attendees.



Next: Domain: Exhibitions

Table of Contents


Measures and Metrics:

Appendix A: Glossary