For more than 40 years the SPEC survey program has worked with librarians in the US and Canada to develop new surveys of the ARL membership that will assist libraries in the continuous improvement of their management systems.
Six topics are selected for each survey cycle based on the currency and insightfulness of the topic, its importance to research libraries, its relevance to ARL’s three strategic directions (Influencing Public Policies; Advancing Scholarly Communication; and Transforming Research Libraries) or the Association’s programs that promote diversity and assessment, and whether documents that illustrate current policies and practices can be gathered from respondents. The resulting SPEC surveys are announced to ARL member libraries' designated SPEC Survey Liaisons who coordinate distribution of the online surveys to the relevant person in the library and track survey responses.
For more information about participating in the SPEC survey program, from proposal submission through SPEC Kit production, download the SPEC Participant's FAQ.
SPEC Kits combine the survey results and documentation from ARL member institutions to provide resource guides for libraries as they face ever-changing management problems. For more information on print and online SPEC Kits visit the Publications & Resources section of the website.
2013 SPEC Survey Topics
Research Data Management Services
Barbara E. Pralle, David Fearon, Betsy Gunia, and Tim DiLauro, Johns Hopkins University; and Andrew L. Sallans and Sherry Lake, University of Virginia
The survey explores the organization of research data management services (including a few questions on broader data support services), how they are staffed and funded, what services are offered and to whom, and what institutional relationships or partnerships libraries have forged, among other questions.
Digital Image Collections
Mary Kandiuk, Aaron Lupton, and Catherine Davidson, York University
The purpose of this survey is to gather information about current practices relating to the development and management of institutional and local digital image collections and the acquisition and use of licensed image databases. It will explore the infrastructure and support provided by research libraries and/or their institutions with respect to the creation and use of digital images in teaching, learning, and research including systems and platforms, cataloging and metadata, access and training, services and service points, and copyright and rights issues.
Responsible Conduct of Research
Michelle Leonard and Denise Bennett, University of Florida
The purpose of this survey is to assess research libraries’ participation in campus efforts to train faculty, staff, and students in the principles of responsible conduct of research and ethical research practices. It includes questions on training activities, roles currently undertaken by librarians, and on librarians’ willingness to expand instruction into the arena of responsible conduct of research.
Print Collection Management
Scott Britton, Boston College, and John Renaud, University of Miami
The purpose of this survey is to determine what strategies are being used to manage the footprint of print library materials.
Support for Innovation and R&D
Lisa German, Pennsylvania State University, and Beth Sandore Namachchivaya, University of Illinois Library at Urbana-Champaign
The survey seeks to collect baseline data on the landscape of R&D and innovation in research libraries, such as which research libraries support R&D, at what level, where do they find the support (local or external), and for what purposes. The survey is also intended to elicit information about who is involved in innovative activities, what types of innovation are critical to the mission of the organization, and how to measure the resulting successes or failures.
Jessica Adamick and Rebecca Reznik-Zellen, University of Massachusetts
The purpose of this survey is to understand the role of the research library in the management and development of disciplinary repositories. It will investigate the disciplinary scope of the hosted repository, collection policies, funding models, assessment practices and tools, position descriptions for disciplinary repository staff, and organization charts, among other information.