Harnessing Alma Analytics and R/RShiny for Insights #anzreg2019

Harnessing Alma Analytics and R/RShiny for Insights
David Lewis & Drew Fordham, Curtin University

Interactive visualisation tools useful as it lets the user choose (within parameters) what they want to see. Alma Analytics was a bit limited. Looked at products like Tableau but it’s mostly for visualisation (and expensive) albeit easy to use.  R/RShiny free to install on desktop, more of a learning curve but worth it.

Early successes:

  • in exporting Analytics -> CSV -> clean with R -> reimport into Alma. Weeding project with printouts of the whole collection was highly manual, lots of errors, seemingly endless. With R, ran logic over entire collection and could print targeted pick lists for closer investigation. Massively accelerated deselection.
  • Could also finely-tune shelving roster more finely over the semester which saved money.

Refurbishment modelling needed to create a low-use compactus collection. Created model of previous semester as if the collection had been shelved that way, to see what would actually need to be moved back and forth. Let people explore parameters. Ended up deciding that there’d be a lot of movement in and out of the open access collection and would still require a lot of staff effort – so needed to make the compactus open access, not closed access.

Getting started with Alma Analytics and Trove API. Started with documentation then experimenting. Found the only match point was the ISBN number. Record structures complex so needed to know which substructures were relevant. Created test SQL schema and started trying test queries. Next phase: took 3-4 days to get all their holdings in Trove. Then started importing into SQL database, Views were cumbersome so created a table from the view and indexed that – which proved a lot faster.

Visualisation example with

  • * number of libraries with shared holdings – in WA, interstate, or both; at university libraries, other libraries, or both; not borrowed since [date slider input].
  • * usage by call number – user can select call number range, not borrowed since, etc.

Expanded professional networks in process of making a lot of impact with their analyses

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