Evaluating Automated Sentiment Analysis of Library Survey Respondent feedback – Peter Corrigan

Presented at the CONUL Conference, July 2015, Athlone, Ireland by Peter Corrigan NUI Galway.

Open-ended respondent comments are a valuable complement to the regular quantitative findings provided by many surveys. While reading every comment provides insight for the investigator, rigorous, systematic analysis and summarization of extensive qualitative feedback is a time-consuming task.

Recent advances in sentiment analysis, harnessing natural language processing, text analysis, computational linguistics and deep learning promises a rich seam of possibilities for automation of a range of hitherto, human-only tasks. Third-party APIs conveniently expose the necessary computing power, algorithms and data via a well-defined interface to allow us explore these possibilities.

This brief talk will describe the application of state-of-the-art sentiment analysis via third party API to over 5000 LibQUAL+ comments from five separate LibQUAL+ surveys performed on the James Hardiman Library between 2010 and 2015. Calculation of document level sentiment for each comment will allow for the calculation of a per survey overall sentiment score. Keyword-level sentiment will be examined to see how it might allow for the identification and ranking of particular points of user-grievance. The potential for keyword-level sentiment analysis to measure the effectiveness of library staff mitigation initiatives will be explored. Custom software developed for this talk to leverage the APIs and optimised for LibQUAL+ comments will be available on Github.

Peter Corrigan is currently Head of Organisational Development and Performance at the James Hardiman Library in NUI Galway. Peter commenced his library career in UCD Engineering Library as an Assistant Librarian. He left academia to work in industry before re-joining UCD, in the Medical Library in the mid-1980’s. He later returned to industry to work in the pharmaceutical and software sectors. He came to NUI Galway in 1993 as a sub-librarian in charge of Library Systems and assumed his current role in 2009. Peter credits curiosity and his passion for technology’s ability to transcend drudgery for keeping him ever-tantalised and excited about modern librarianship.