Rankings Links & Information
As is probably the case at most other libraries, the Social Sciences, Health, and Education Library receives a constant stream of queries concerning institutional rankings. Since our Library holds a large collection of material on higher education, we use many standard print sources in answering these questions. With the advent of the Web, however, we started to integrate more and more online sources of ranking information into our reference work. Rather than continue to work from what was becoming an unwieldy list of bookmarked sites, we decided to create a separate web page for these resources. The purpose of the rankings site is to draw together and provide context for various online sources of information on the ranking of institutions of higher education. We try to only provide links to stable sites offering original information. These sites rank colleges with criteria ranging from the academic to the spiritual. Some are serious, while others are intended more for entertainment. Since not all ranking services have the same goal, recognizing the criteria and methodology used by any individual ranking service is a key step in ensuring it is used properly.
We offer a cautionary section containing a selection of links discussing various viewpoints on rankings. Please take some time to explore these links. They should help to improve your understanding of the academic ranking of colleges and give you some perspective on how to integrate the rankings into your decision making process.
The College and University Rankings Web page debuted in October 1997. The original page went through many permutations and took on its form as a site containing a series of pages in late February, 1999. The initial creators of the rankings page were Daniel Burgard, psychology librarian, and Stephanie Davis, graduate student in library and information science. Several other graduate students in library and information science also assisted with maintenance of the page during their tenure as graduate assistant in the Education and Social Science Library. The site was redesigned using cascading style sheets in July of 2004. In the Fall semester of 2012 the site was relocated to the Social Sciences, Health, and Education Library web space. It is currently maintained by Nancy O'Brien, Education Librarian, with support from graduate assistants.
A few months after its introduction, the rankings page had a stable structure and was garnering a small number of hits. While pleased with the quality and utility of the page, we felt that a much wider audience could benefit from exposure to it. The page was submitted to a variety of World Wide Web search engines in March and April of 1998. Shortly thereafter, it began to receive an increasing number of hits. On February 22, 1999, the rankings page was split into several separate pages. This was done primarily because the page had grown very large and loaded slowly over a standard telephone modem. Clearly, the various pages in the rankings site benefit from the interlinked nature of the Web and continue to gain greater exposure every day.
If you have any questions or comments about the history and construction of the rankings site, please contact Nancy O'Brien.