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Academic Libraries Survey Design

The Academic Libraries Survey (ALS) produces descriptive statistics on about 3,700 academic libraries in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Survey methodology

Click the "Appendix A: Technical Notes" bookmark in:
E.D. Tab: Academic Libraries: 2004 PDF File (505 KB)

Who is surveyed?

The survey collects data on the libraries in the entire universe of degree-granting institutions of higher education.

History of the survey

NCES surveyed academic libraries on a three-year cycle between 1966 and 1988. Between 1988 and 1998, the ALS was a component of the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and was collected on a two-year cycle. Beginning with Fiscal Year 2000, the Academic Libraries Survey is no longer a component of IPEDS, but remains on a two-year cycle.

Why is the survey conducted?

Collection of these data over time will enable the nation to plan effectively for the development and use of postsecondary education library resources. Congress uses the data to assess the need for revisions of existing legislation concerning academic libraries and the allocation of Federal funds. Federal agencies need the data to evaluate and administer academic library programs. State education agencies and college librarians and administrators use the data for regional and national comparisons of library resources to plan for the effective use of funds. Finally, library associations and researchers use the survey results to determine the status of academic library operations and the profession.

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