Research Projects

Cultural Data Collection

Comprehensive databases. National surveys. 

NEA Data Inventory Mapping Project
October 2016 - September 2017

In an effort to capture historical grant-making records, the NEA’s Office of Research and Analysis (ORA) contracted NK to mine data from seventeen years of annual reports (1966-1983). Ms. Langa and NovaKultura started by assessing the quality of the funding data, and it’s consistency with current ORA data variables, then built an extensive inventory of the variables across these old reports. Once the reports are translated into machine readable formats, the inventory will serve as a codebook and crosswalk. NK used sampling methods to produce a representative sample of the data variables in each annual report, and created a narrative memo to outline the coding procedures, in compliance with NEA’s unified data inventory.

Project lead: Lesley Langa


Public Libraries in the United States Survey
Ongoing Data Collection

The Public Libraries Survey (PLS) provides statistics on the status of public libraries in the United States. The data are collected annually from approximately 9,000 public libraries with approximately 17,000 individual public library outlets in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and outlying territories. Data includes information about library visits, circulation, size of collections, public service hours, staffing, electronic resources, operating revenues and expenditures and number of service outlets. While at IMLS Mr. Manjarrez oversaw the collection of eight PLS surveys; seven national conferences of Library State Data Coordinators, the complete redesign of the annual Public Library Survey Report and the transition of survey contractors from the Census Bureau to the private market.

Project lead: Carlos Manjarrez


Museum Universe Data File
September 2014-September 2015

While at IMLS Mr. Manjarrez oversaw the collection of the first comprehensive database of museums in the United States.The purpose of the Museum Universe Data File (MUDF) is to provide a list of known museums and related organizations in the United States.: The MUDF contains information about over 35,000 museums and related organizations in the United States including aquariums, arboretums, botanical gardens, art museums, children’s museums, general museums, historic houses and sites, history museums, nature centers, natural history and anthropology museums, planetariums, science and technology centers, specialized museums, and zoological parks.  The data in this file was collected and aggregated from a variety of sources including IMLS administrative data and records, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) non-profit data (e.g., 990, 990-EZ, 990-N), grantee lists from private foundations and data obtained from third party commercial vendors.

Project lead: Carlos Manjarrez


Heritage Health Information 2014
September 2013-May 2015

IMLS, NEH, NEA, The Getty Trust, and other foundations supported Heritage Preservation to field a national sample survey at the ten year anniversary of the original ground-breaking study that examines collections care practice in U.S. cultural heritage organizations, including questions about staffing, budgeting, planning, day-to-day operations and maintenance. Ms. Langa oversaw the project management from hiring the subcontractor, to managing sponsor expectations, and reviewing the data methods and analysis. Ms. Langa, on behalf of Heritage Preservation, subcontracted RMC Research to perform the survey data collection and analysis.

Project lead: Lesley Langa


State Library Agency Survey
Ongoing Data Collection

The State Library Agencies survey (SLAA) provides descriptive information about state library agencies. The data are collected from the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The data includes state library agency identification, governance, public service hours, service outlets, collections, library service transactions, library development transactions, services to other libraries in the state, allied operations, staff, income, expenditures, and electronic services and information. While at IMLS Mr. Manjarrez oversaw the collection of six SLAA surveys, a redesign of the annual State Library Agency Survey Report, a shift from annual to biennial collection and the transition of survey contractors from Census to the private market.

Project lead: Carlos Manjarrez


Cultural Research and Evaluation

Case studies. Interviews.
Impact analysis.

Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) Grants to States - COSLINE
November 2016 - February 2017

QualityMetrics sought out NovaKultura’s expertise in both the LSTA evaluation process and quantitative and qualitative research methods to collaborate on the development of an evaluation process for the state-level implementation of the LSTA Grants to States program for the Northeast region (COSLINE). Separate draft reports were delivered to each of the eleven participating states (CT, ME, MD, MA, NH, NJ, PA, RI, VT, DC and WV), with final drafts submitted to IMLS. The five-year evaluations are a program requirement for LSTA grants, and directly address the states’ own five-year plans’ goals and objectives, while also demonstrating the impacts of the Federal LSTA investment, and sharing effective practices with the broader library community.

Project lead: Lesley Langa

Humanities Data Initiative
May 2015-May 2016

At its 50th anniversary, NEH sponsored an reach and impact report that celebrates NEH’s grant making. That report delves deep into how the humanities have changed, NEH’s role as a sponsor in responding to the fields as they change, and how NEH’s giving has touched Americans lives and their experience with the humanities. NEH aims to provide a humanities experience for all Americans where they are. NEH is able to uniquely sponsor programs and projects in a diversified way across the country that no peer private foundations can do. 

Project lead: Lesley Langa


Libraries and Museums and Comprehensive Community Initiatives
September 2013 - September 2015*

Using a qualitative comparative case study method IMLS research staff worked in partnership with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) to identify best practices and strategies for successful museum-library and community collaborations fostering revitalization. Project contacts included cultural institution directors, education and public affairs staff, community development and human service professionals. Seventy-nine in-depth interviews were conducted over the course of the project, resulting in 43 cases provided and 10 in-depth case studies.

Project lead: Carlos Manjarrez

Supporting Museums – Serving Communities: An Evaluation of the Museums for America Program
September 2009-September 2011

This two-year study, conducted with RMC Research Corporation, examined the impact of the MFA program and MFA-funded projects. Carlos Manjarrez designed the study, which was funded out of the IMLS budget RMC conducted the survey and fieldwork and wrote the summary report.

Project lead: Carlos Manjarrez


Museum Domain Web Survey
January-December 2011

Information technology has become a core component of branding and marketing in today’s world, and this is no different for museums. Interestingly, a website domain - .museum - exists for museums to uniquely identify themselves on the web. Why are so few museums actually registered with .museum domains then? The .museum domain study sought to understand how museums are using their online presence, and why status as a museum is less important to signify than status as a nonprofit, company, or educational institution. Conceived by Ms. Langa, this study fielded a survey of museum professionals and found that many museums are marketing themselves as nonprofits (using .org domains) because it has a perceived impact on a web visitor’s feelings about museums, and could drive up charitable giving, and others are registering .com domains because it is familiar to them and presumably other web visitors. Ms. Langa was responsible for data collection, analysis, and published a journal article.

Project lead: Lesley Langa

Improving the museum experiences of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and their families
September 2011-June 2012

Understanding how visitors with disabilities experience the museum, both mentally and physically, is an understudied corner of the visitor studies literature. In an effort to improve practice for museums for visitors with the “unseen” and common disability of Autism, researchers from the iSchool at the University of Maryland partnered with the Smithsonian Institution’s Accessibility Program (SIAP) to build and test learning materials that would supplement and support families that visitor museums together with their Autistic child. Through qualitative data collection in family interviews and timing and observing families during their museum visit, the study found promising results for the materials developed, with the hope to improve the way museums can serve these visitors. Ms. Langa secured funding for this project, managed project consultants, managed research assistants, performed data collection and analysis, and authored the published article for Curator: The Museum Journal.

Project lead: Lesley Langa