ALISE (Association for Library and Information Science Education) is a non-profit organization that gathers and conducts analyses on information pertaining to library education on an annual basis. ALISE publishes a report annually to show the statistical data of the different academic institutions, that are active members of ALISE. ALISE surveys about 70 member institutions to gather data for this report. The survey gathers data from each school’s library information and science education department. These annual reports allow for institutions to monitor their performance, compare data, and benchmark against each other. Our Capstone team has been working with the statistical data manager for ALISE, Dr. Danny Wallace, to improve the data quality, increase stability and accuracy, and ultimately automate the report generation process.
The first part of our project has been focused on adding functionality to the current open-source survey tool, LimeSurvey. These new features will allow users to view their survey results in excel format, immediately after they have successfully completed the survey. This project has been a steep learning curve for a team and exposed team members to new programming languages, such as PHP and Visual Basic. The team needed to learn these languages to be able to understand and manipulate the tool’s source code, and to be able to offer alternative methods of providing this desired Excel functionality.
The second part of our project involves implementing a new web-based interface that will allow the data manager to generate the statistical report electronically, as opposed to the current manual process. This will greatly diminish the amount of time that the ALISE team needs to generate the reports and the reports can be made available to the ALISE members earlier. We are also currently working with the database tool MySQL Workbench to identify and implement effective data formatting for the tables in the report.