SPEC Surveys

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.


2014 SPEC Survey Topics

Open Source Software
Curtis Thacker and Dr. Charles Knutson, Brigham Young University, and Mark Dehmlow, University of Notre Dame
The purpose of this survey is to study ARL member libraries’ adoption and/or development of OSS for functions such as ILS, discovery layer, electronic resource management, inter-library loan, digital asset management, institutional repository, course reserve, streaming media, study room scheduler, digital preservation, publishing, floor maps, data warehouse, or other library-related purpose.

Locally Curated Digital Collections Assessment and Outreach
Marilyn N. Ochoa, SUNY Oswego, and Mark V. Sullivan and Laurie N. Taylor, University of Florida
The purpose of this survey is to discover what methods ARL member libraries currently use to maintain the relevancy of their locally curated digital library collections, and to continue to sustain, grow, capture return on investment, integrate digital collections with research and teaching, and enhance existing resources through outreach and assessment. This survey explores current practices of outreach and assessment along with methods to integrate digital resources into the research, teaching, and learning environment.

Next-Gen Learning Spaces
Sherri Brown, Charlie Bennett, Bruce Henson, and Alison Valk, Georgia Institute of Technology
The purpose of this survey is to explore the developments and transformations in library learning spaces that have occurred over the past ten years and are planned for the future. This survey explores five main areas related to learning spaces: what learning spaces libraries currently house, how these spaces have changed since their inception, and the affects these spaces have had on other library features; the instruction, programming, and collaboration that take place in the learning spaces; and the current and planned assessment of ARL members’ learning spaces and changes that have been made or are planned based on the results of these evaluations.

Shared Print Programs
Rebecca Crist, Center for Library Initiatives at the CIC, and Emily Stambaugh, California Digital Library
The purpose of this survey is to study the key characteristics and configurations of print archiving programs, the collections archived to date, and the perceived and actual collection management value the programs have provided their constituents; the qualitative and quantitative value these partnerships provide; and the emerging landscape of stewardship to form an understanding of possible changes in the ecology of libraries that are serving in shared archiving roles.

Library Support for Faculty Publishing
Diane Bruxvoort and Christine Fruin, University of Florida

The purpose of this survey is to investigate the level and variety of services ARL libraries are providing to support, facilitate, and participate in the publishing activities of the faculty and researchers they serve, whether through the re-framing of existing traditional library services or the development of new services.

Talent Management
Meredith A. Taylor and Elida Lee, University of Texas at Austin

The purpose of this study is to determine if libraries are utilizing talent management strategies in the recruitment, retention, and development of a workforce needed to support the transformation of academic and research libraries. This survey investigates the following areas related to talent management: talent strategy, recruitment and hiring, retention, employee engagement, job analysis, compensation management, performance assessment, competencies, professional development planning, leadership and succession planning.


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