Another important type of post-processing is the extraction of statistical information from metadata sets. For administrative purposes, institutions may be interested in the number of ETDs supervised by each professor, the keywords most used, the month(s) in which more ETDs are submitted, etc. Usually, relevant metadata are extracted from the ETD database and processed using specialized tools like Microsoft Excel. The access to the database can be done using either ODBC drivers or specialized middleware utilities.
For a broad view of counting information, two projects are widely regarded as providing interesting models and data.
- Peter Lyman and Hal R. Varian’s How Much Information project at the University of California, Berkeley is an attempt to measure how much information is produced in the world each year.
- The OCLC Web Characterization Project conducts an annual web sample of publicly available web sites to analyze trends in the size and content of the web.
Some programs that provide guidance or models for collecting institutional data in higher education are also available. These projects can provide definitions for data, survey questions, and descriptions of data collection that can be adapted for one’s own institution.
- K. C. Green has been conducting the Campus Computing Project since 1990. His work charts the increasing use of technology on campuses.
- The TLT Group’s Flashlight Program, under the direction of Steve Ehrmann, has developed a subscription-based tool kit that provides a large, structured set of assessment techniques and data collection models that can be adapted by individual campuses that want to study and improve the educational uses of technology. The Flashlight Program web site also includes valuable overviews of assessment issues and provides advice on deciding what to assess and how to develop questions.
- The Coalition for Networked Information’s Assessing the Academic Networked Environment project provides case studies of campuses that implemented assessment projects.
- One of the participants in the CNI project, the University of Washington, has a rich set of assessment instruments and reports on its web site, UW Libraries Assessment.