Big changes are underway in the area of academic library survey data. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) formerly gathered data on academic libraries via the voluntary Academic Libraries Survey (ALS), which collected statistics every other year from degree-granting postsecondary institutions. Now, the ALS has been rolled up into a new Academic Libraries (AL) component in annual mandatory spring data collection for the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

Data collection for the new 2014-15 IPEDS AL component is going on now and continues through the beginning of April. Data will be released in the IPEDS Data Center.

We’re particularly hopeful this shift will mean more academic libraries will participate in data collection—resulting in more reliable and complete data—and a quicker turnaround for results. In the meantime, the NCES resource page has a handy comparison chart, variables crosswalk, and technical review report to help explain the changes.