By The Numbers Click It No More Tic It

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Kathleen Keating, Professor, University of New Mexico Libraries, presentation from VRA 28 Atlanta. "Click It, No More Tic It: Online Reference Statistics" for the "By the Numbers" session.

Panel presentation describing development of on-line reference statistics gathering tool; includes information for download via Creative Commons licensing. (March 18, 2010)

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  • Currently, the primary factor behind gathering usage data at the University Libraries (UL) at the University of New Mexico (UNM) is the necessity of its contribution to the annual Association of Research Libraries (ARL) report. Other reasons for statistical gathering, such information needed for better-informed budgetary decisions, exist but are not addressed in a consistent manner by UL. Each year, many people in the libraries spend hours compiling statistics for the ARL report. While this results in a comprehensive collection of data, it is not always accurate or efficient. Data gathering methods are not consistently recorded, resulting in varying methods for data collection each year. Additionally, data are often not reviewed for trends analysis. The current data gathering methods do not provide the UL with a good understanding of user needs and behaviors as they relate to the libraries.
  • Reference statistics are gathered in each branch and many, but not all, departments of the UL. Gathering and analysis techniques vary between departments and branches. Reference statistics do not always include interactions resulting from email directly to subject specialists or email from the web site. Not all departments report interactions which could be considered reference. For instance, LIT does not record or report their interactions with the public in cases where they provide technological assistance.
  • Designate a committee to review and set standards for collecting reference statistics. This includes which departments should report statistics, what needs to be reported, and how it should be reported. Other issues that need to be addressed are how to report chat interactions, interactions with subject specialists outside of the reference desk, and email from the web site. Addressing these issues will provide more accurate statistics for the UL as a whole. While it is important to know how many people we help at the UL, it is equally important to know if our interactions were useful to the patrons. This type of information will not be acquired through counting numbers. After chat reference is up and running, I suggest conducting short surveys and focus groups, similar to the process performed at the University of Illinois (Jacoby 2005). This will provide insight into the usefulness of our interactions, whether in person, via email or via chat. Once standards for reference statistics are set, expand the proposed LIRIC database to include a section for reference interactions. This will centralize reference statistics among all the branches.
  • What does the UL want to measure and collect from reference statistics? How will these statistics be used/analyzed? Is there a standardized form that we can all agree to use? Do we need to identify the patrons? e.g. UNM Faculty, staff, student, Community, etc.
  • Approval plans: While approval plans can takes less time and identifies quality books, it doesn’t reflect the current research interests of our students. Book catalogs: some presses like UNM Press, U of Ok press, U of Nebraska Press publish high numbers of NA materials. Book reviews: reviews help to identify quality books All good, but…approval plans and book catalogs deal with the major presses and deal with topics that aren’t as timely (ie. Deal with more NA history than with present day problems faced by NA);
  • Cons – can be time consuming – you will have to select title by title – sometimes difficult to find a publisher or purchasing information Pros – reflects the current research interests of patrons – Up-to-date collection – using current reference questions will areas used in the collection and identify areas that require weeding or attention. May help in identifying research trends – some of the topics may be cutting edge and reviewing questions through the course of several semesters may indicate research trends and help the selector identify areas to “beef up.” Assist in collecting appropriate formats – this will help students with learning or physical disabilities, and students with particular types of learning styles (visual, audio, etc.). Additionally, many students commute or take classes virtually and need access to e-resources Analyzing reference questions will assist in meeting the various needs of today’s students
  • Reviewed all NA questions from the database: The selector for this area reviewed all questions and there were many. She then categorized them into broad topics. She searched for materials in various sources: Amazon, Google, publishers catalogs, _The Small Press Index_, organizations that publish specifically for their membership ( for example, National Indian Gaming Association, Native American Rights Fund, Catching the Dream-Native American Scholarship Fund, Alaska Native Knowledge Network). Another excellent source for available materials are flyers received from various organizations announcing lectures or visiting scholars. Contact Paulita Aguilar on specific publishers.
  • Native American Research topics: Many of the topics deal with present day problems/solutions faced by NA communities on reservations and urban areas. Some of the topics include: indigenous knowledge, language revitalization, health—diabetes, sexual abuse, indigenous foodways, indigenous criminal justice systems, indigenous curriculum, Indian gaming, economic development on tribal lands, and tribal planning. Topics are covered in books that are multicultural: for example, the research topic is covered in a book that is discussing Curriculum development and one chapter is devoted to NA. Topics are covered in books that deal with a particular topic: like coverage in multicultural books, the researcher will find a chapter in a book devoted to Diabetes, for example, with a chapter on indigenous peoples Need for more visual materials – many timely topics about NA peoples are addressed in visual materials. For example, NA identity and teenagers, political involvement in mining or other land issues. Students find visual materials to be excellent sources for getting an overall perspective of a topic as well. Involving Catalogers: at UL a cataloging team is devoted to helping the UL Research Programs (INLP, CHIPTOLE, DILARES) to include local subject headings or in creating bibliographic notes accurately describing book content.
  • By The Numbers Click It No More Tic It

    1. 1. Click it, no more tic it: Online Reference Statistics Kathleen Keating [email_address] Paulita Aguilar [email_address] Dr. Sue Swanback [email_address]
    2. 2. White paper: Landscape of data gathering and analysis at the University Libraries, University of New Mexico: Executive Summary <ul><li>Association of Research Libraries (ARL) </li></ul><ul><li>Comprehensive collection of data </li></ul><ul><li>Not always accurate or efficient </li></ul><ul><li>Not consistently recorded </li></ul><ul><li>Data not reviewed for trends analysis </li></ul><ul><li>Current data gathering methods </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Do not provide a good understanding of user needs or behaviors </li></ul></ul>
    3. 3. University Libraries Reference Statistical Gathering in 2005 <ul><li>2005 Current state of statistical gathering </li></ul><ul><li>Reference statistics are gathered in each branch, but not all, departments of UL </li></ul><ul><li>Gathering and analysis techniques vary </li></ul><ul><li>Not all modes of communication are recorded, i.e. e-mail, chat </li></ul><ul><li>Not all departments report reference interactions, i.e., LIT, e-resources, office, etc. </li></ul>
    4. 6. Hour Directional Reference Remarks PTO Sci/Eng 9-10 Ph____________ _______________ _______________ 10-11 Ph____________ _______________ _______________ 11-12 Ph____________ _______________ _______________ 12-1 Ph____________ _______________ _______________ 1-2 Ph____________ _______________ _______________ 2-3 Ph____________ _______________ _______________ 3-4 Ph____________ _______________ _______________ 4-5 Ph____________ _______________ _______________ 5-6 Ph____________ _______________ _______________ 6-7 Ph____________ _______________ _______________
    5. 7. White Paper Recommendations <ul><li>Set Standards </li></ul><ul><li>Conduct Survey and Focus Groups </li></ul><ul><li>Centralize Statistics </li></ul>
    6. 8. Research <ul><li>Literature Review </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Warner, Debra. “A New Classification for Reference Statistics”, Reference & User Services Quarterly , Vol. 41, no. 1, 2001, pp.51-55 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Smith, Michael M. “A tool for all places: a web-based reference statistics system”, Reference Services Review , Vol 34, No 2, 2006, pp.298-315 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Bike ride to North Campus, UNM </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Law School Library </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Health Sciences and Informatics Library </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Annelise Sklar </li></ul></ul></ul>
    7. 9. Focus Groups <ul><li>UL Wide “Let’s talk statistics” in 2006 </li></ul><ul><li>Invited UL staff to participate in reference statistics discussions to determine data collection </li></ul><ul><li>Questions: </li></ul><ul><li>What does the UL want to measure and collect from reference transactions? </li></ul><ul><li>How will these statistics be used/analyzed? </li></ul><ul><li>Is there a standardized form that we can all agree to use? </li></ul><ul><li>Do we need to identify the patron type? </li></ul>
    8. 10. Pilot Project Timeline <ul><li>Focus groups, Summer of 2006 </li></ul><ul><li>Statistical Database test site/form, Fall 2006 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Evaluation of test site/form from UL </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Back to the drawing board </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>New form developed </li></ul></ul><ul><li>New form approved in January 2007 </li></ul><ul><li>E-resources began March 1, 2007 </li></ul><ul><li>Zimmerman Library began March 12, 2007 </li></ul><ul><li>Go Live date for all Libraries, June 1 st , 2007 </li></ul>
    9. 11. Reference Statistics Database Demonstration
    10. 20. Reference Questions for Collection Development? Paulita Aguilar [email_address]
    11. 21. Traditional Collection Development <ul><li>Approval plans </li></ul><ul><li>Book catalogs </li></ul><ul><li>Book reviews </li></ul><ul><li>All good, but… </li></ul>University of Oklahoma Catalog University of Nebraska Catalog
    12. 22. Reference Questions Driving Collection Development <ul><li>Cons </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Can be time consuming </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Pros </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reflects the current research interests of patrons </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Up-to-date collection </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>May help in identifying research trends </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Assist in collecting appropriate formats </li></ul></ul>
    13. 23. Analysis of Satellite Reference Questions in one area <ul><li>Native American collection </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reviewed all NA questions from the statistical database </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Categorized into broad topics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Searched for books and visual materials </li></ul></ul>
    14. 24. What we learned <ul><li>Native American research topics cover a wide range </li></ul><ul><li>Topics are covered in books that are multicultural </li></ul><ul><li>Topics are covered in books that deal with a particular topic </li></ul><ul><li>Need for more visual materials </li></ul><ul><li>Involving Catalogers to help identify library resources for patrons </li></ul>
    15. 25. Try it out! <ul><li>Accessing the software, UNM Dspace </li></ul><ul><ul><li>https://repository.unm.edu/dspace/handle/1928/6979 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Accessing a demo product </li></ul><ul><ul><li>http://elibrary.unm.edu/applications/demo/libraryStatistics/ </li></ul></ul>
    16. 26. Other Sites <ul><li>http://rsrs.library.cornell.edu/ </li></ul><ul><li>Desk Tracker </li></ul><ul><ul><li>desktracker.com </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>compediumlib.com </li></ul></ul>

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