Suma comprises a set of tools, including a mobile tablet-based (i.e. Apple iPad) data collection application, that will allow library staff to collect, aggregate, and interactively analyze real-time data about the usage of physical space and services. This tool will support the collection of more fine-grained data about physical space usage patterns by supporting the annotation of users with "activities." The data that this tool provides will allow the libraries to build on existing assessment practices by significantly improving our ability to analyze physical space usage trends against various milestones, as well as generating more dynamic and current data visualizations. As a result, this data can be both collected and utilized more frequently and at a much wider scope than before with relative ease.
This project is currently being used at NC State as a pilot project for a wider deployment. Examples of the current and planned uses for this toolkit include the collection and analysis of data relating to:
- Building headcounts
- Reference desk transactions
- Experimental technology usage
- Media production activities
- Experimental furniture usage
Source Code Repository
The Suma source code is hosted on GitHub. You can find it at https://github.com/cazzerson/Suma.
- Jason Casden, Digital Library Initiatives
- Joyce Chapman, State Library of North Carolina
- Bret Davidson, Digital Library Initiatives
- Rob Rucker, Research and Information Services
- Eric McEachern, Digital Library Initiatives
- Rusty Earl, Digital Library Initiatives
The technical architecture for Suma is essentially composed of three major components. The first is the central data management server, which is responsible for receiving, validating, normalizing, and storing data from the clients. Additionally, this server responds to a variety of queries for data related to the counts and the initiatives (i.e. locations and activities). The other two major components are both clients to the server. The first is the tablet-based data collection tool, where most of the early effort has been focused for this project. This tool is web-based, improving ease of use and device-independence, and utilizes HTML5-related technologies such as in-browser databases (Web SQL Database) as well as asynchronous data aggregation techniques to achieve high responsiveness in distributed, limited-network environments, while still ensuring data stability. The final component is the data analysis dashboard, which allows a non-technical user to build custom queries of the entire history of collected data to generate visualizations and export data in various raw and derivative formats.
Reports and Presentations
Casden, J. and Davidson, B. (2013). "The Suma Project: Integrating Observational Data Assessment into Space and Service Design", ACRL 2013 Cyber Zed Shed track, Indianapolis, IN, April 11, 2013.
Chapman, J., Casden, J., & Duckett, K. (2012). "The Suma project: an open-source, mobile tool enabling observational data collection and analysis", Library Assessment Conference 2012, Charlottesville, VA, October 29, 2012.
Chapman, J. (2011). "Introducing Suma: an Open Source iPad Application for Analyzing Library Reference Services", American Library Association 2011 Annual Conference. RUSA MARS Hot Topics in Electronic Reference Panel, "How are we measuring up? Using new technologies to schedule, standardize, and assess reference services", New Orleans, LA, June 25, 2011.
Chapman, J. (2011). "Introducing Suma: an Open Source Tablet Tool for Library Assessment", American Library Association 2011 Annual Conference. ACRL Library Assessment Forum, "Demonstrating the Value of the Library: Assessment Tools and Techniques", New Orleans, LA, June 24, 2011.
Casden, J. (2011). "Mobile Sensors: Building an Open Source Staff-Facing Tablet App for Library Assessment", NISO Forum: Mobile Technologies in Libraries, Philadelphia, PA, May 20, 2011.
Casden, J. and Chapman, J. (2011). "Building a staff-facing tablet application for library assessment", Code4Lib 2011, Bloomington, IN, February 10, 2011. Video of presentation (from 26:25-44:30).
Last updated: October 25, 2012