Skip Navigation
Academic Libraries: 2008
NCES 2010-348
December 2009

Appendix A: Technical Notes


The Academic Libraries Survey (ALS) was fielded in the fall of 2008 as a Web-based survey. This survey collects data on libraries in degree-granting postsecondary institutions in the United States. The Academic Libraries data file and this report cover all academic libraries in degree-granting postsecondary institutions in the United States, including institutions that are Title IV program participants and branch campuses of Title IV program participating institutions.

Coverage and response rates
There were 3,827 degree-granting postsecondary institutions in the 50 states and the District of Columbia that had academic libraries in 2008. The response rate among these 3,827 institutions was approximately 87 percent.

Methodological tables A-1 and A-2 present further information on response rates. The first two rows of table A-1 present the number of academic libraries and the number and percentage of respondents by level and control of institution. Row 2 shows unit response rates. The remaining rows show the number and percentage of libraries responding for each item (i.e., item response rates). Item response rates, at the total level, range from about 86 percent to 72 percent. Table A-2 shows the number and percentage of nonrespondents by control and level of institution and by state (unit response rates).

Data collection procedures
The U.S. Census Bureau, Governments Division collected and processed the ALS data for NCES. In 1990, an NCES/IPEDS (Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System) Academic Libraries Survey Improvement Project was begun with the assistance of the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science (NCLIS) and the American Library Association's Office of Research and Statistics (ALA–ORS). The project identified a librarian in each state to work with IPEDS state data coordinators in submitting library data to NCES. For the 1990, 1992, 1994, 1996, and 1998 data collections, many of those library representatives took major responsibility for collecting data in their states. Since 2000, the ALS is no longer a component of the IPEDS package of surveys. ALS data can still be linked to IPEDS institutional data using the institution's UNITID number. For the 2008 Web-based data collection, state-level library representatives were available to provide prompt responses from librarians and to assist in problem resolution when anomalies were discovered in responses from the academic librarians.