Suma comprises a set of tools, including a mobile tablet-based (i.e. Apple iPad) data collection application, that will allow library staff to collect, aggregate, and interactively analyze real-time data about the usage of physical space and services. This tool will support the collection of more fine-grained data about physical space usage patterns by supporting the annotation of users with "activities." The data that this tool provides will allow the libraries to build on existing assessment practices by significantly improving our ability to analyze physical space usage trends against various milestones, as well as generating more dynamic and current data visualizations. As a result, this data can be both collected and utilized more frequently and at a much wider scope than before with relative ease.

This project has been in use at NC State University Libraries since 2011. Examples of the current and planned uses for this toolkit include the collection and analysis of data relating to:

  • Building headcounts
  • Reference desk transactions
  • Experimental technology usage
  • Media production activities
  • Experimental furniture usage


We have worked hard to make the code as stable as possible, but are eager to receive feedback on any issues you discover. While we at NC State University Libraries have been using it in a production capacity since July 2011 with great success, and several other institutions have successfully implemented this code, you should still take appropriate precautions when deploying this application. These include but are not limited to carefully backing up databases, monitoring error logs, maintaining close relationships with users, and reporting any problems back to the project team. Thank you for helping to ensure that this project continues to grow.

As a safeguard, all JSON input from the client is logged. This will lead to large log files, but it allows for data recovery in the case of database problems or improperly rejected data. See the information about "JSON INPUT" entries in for more information. We at NC State University Libraries have never needed to make use of this recovery feature.


Suma Support

For help installing Suma, creating data collection initiatives, etc., please start by posting to our Google Group.

How to contribute?

Do you want to contribute some code? Maybe some data reports, bug fixes, new clients, or even new core features? Awesome! Just contact us or fork the code on GitHub and create a pull request.

Project URLs


  • Bret Davidson – Project lead.
  • Jason Casden – Project founder, currently Head, Software Development at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill University Libraries.
  • Joyce Chapman – Community development and data analysis specialist, currently Assessment Analyst & Consultant at Duke University Libraries.
  • Rob Rucker – Project team member and our first stakeholder.
  • Niqui O'Neill – Developer.
  • Jason Raitz – Developer.
  • Luke Aeschleman – Developer.
  • Eric McEachern – Developer, responsible for much of the development of the server-side components.
  • Rusty Earl – Developer and technical consultant.