Contextual Expectations and Emerging Informational Harms: A Primer on Academic Library Participation in Learning Analytics Initiatives

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APA Citation

Jones, K. M. L., & LeClere, E. (2018). Contextual expectations and emerging informational harms: A primer on academic library participation in learning analytics initiatives. In P. Fernandez & K. Tilton (Eds.), Applying library values to emerging technology: Decision-making in the age of open access, maker spaces, and the ever-changing library. Chicago, IL: Association of College and Research Libraries.


Academic libraries have begun to consider their role in learning analytics (LA). Some librarians have expressed great optimism about data-driven analytics and the insights such practices may develop with regard to the library’s role in improving learning outcomes or increasing graduation rates. On the face of it, information systems librarians maintain and the informational products (e.g., databases and digital libraries) to which they provide students access hold data that could reveal a unique view into students’ intellectual behaviors. Such data could provide value to LA algorithms and enhance related outcomes, and institutions may seek more involvement from their librarians in aggregating and mining student data. However, these initiatives are not without moral questions. In this chapter, we hold a critical conversation about the distribution of LA benefits, whose interests library LA serves, and how informational injustices accrue to students as library users.

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Scholarly Citations

Jones, K. M. L. (2018). Advising the whole student: eAdvising analytics and the contextual suppression of advisor values. Education and Information Technologies, 1–22. doi: 10.1007/s10639-018-9781-8

Grey Literature Citations

Lamb, A. (2018, Fall). Library (& Digital Services) Management: LIS S551 [Syllabus, Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing – Indianapolis]. Retrieved from

Asher, A., Briney, K., Goben, A., Jones, K. M., Perry, M., Robertshaw, M., B., & Salo, D. (2018, February 13). Student learning analytics in libraries — thoughts and resources. Love Data Week. Retrieved from

Fisher, Z. (2017, November 10). Libraries & learning analytics: A brief history [web log post]. Retrieved from