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Goal and Plan. Goal: Convince you to record details of all your reference transactions Plan: 1. Show you how easy it is to do this 2. Describe benefits * For instruction * For training and evaluation * For management decisions 3. Answer your questions

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goal and plan
Goal and Plan

Goal:Convince you to record details of all your reference transactions

Plan:1. Show you how easy it is to do this

2. Describe benefits

* For instruction

* For training and evaluation

* For management decisions

3. Answer your questions

4. Closing remarks

our story
Our Story

July 2006: Hired 4 new reference staff.

Aug. 2006: Begin an assault on paper.

Sept. 2006: Explore options for recording stats on computer.

Oct. 2006: Discover LibStats, install it, begin testing.

Jan. 2007: Begin recording all Hale Library Help Desk and Ask A Librarian transactions in LibStats.

libstats 101
LibStats 101
  • Open Source from University of Wisconsin
  • Requires PHP enabled server
  • Web-based database
    • Multiple people can use it simultaneously
    • Requires username and password to use
  • Extremely easy to use!
how we use libstats
How we use LibStats
  • Login from both staff computers each morning and leave it open until closing time.
  • Record every question we receive
    • In person at the Hale Library Help Desk.
    • Through our Ask A Librarian phone, e-mail, and IM service.
a closer look at libstats
A Closer Look at LibStats

Select an entry from each box, and type your initials.

a closer look at libstats1
A Closer Look at LibStats

Then record information about the question and the answer.

a closer look at libstats2
A Closer Look at LibStats

The transaction will then appear in the list below the entry form. The date and time are added automatically.

a closer look at libstats3
A Closer Look at LibStats

You can edit or delete a transaction by clicking it’s number.

benefits of recording so much data
Benefits of Recording So Much Data
  • It’s fun to read (honest!)
  • It’s educational
  • It helps improve services
  • Conversation between a programmer, the instruction coordinator, and an instruction resident
  • Occurred when looking at digital projects regarding Instruction as a whole

Questions in Libstats hold valuable information that can help guide instruction efforts.

data and coding
Data and Coding
  • January 3, 2007 through May 3, 2007
  • 1,000 entries examined to create topic codes
  • 4,674 questions coded, blank entries not included
data and coding1
Data and Coding
  • Measure of user awareness
  • Determine level of specificity
  • A priori scheme better suited for future analysis
example codes
Example Codes

Known item request 5

Topic research 11

Item not on shelf 28

results grouped codes
Results – Grouped Codes

“Not Representative” includes entries that do not represent K-State users such as questions from vendors.

  • Referrals are not adequately captured in this analysis. Exporting problems with hard returns.
  • 689 empty entries
  • 150 entries were too vague to classify
    • Example: find book
  • Not true needs—only those that asked questions
staff training and evaluation1
Staff Training and Evaluation
  • Are other libraries using a web-based tracking system for reference staff training?
  • Survey comments from Hale Library Help Desk staff
  • Staff Training
  • Reference Reflection & Assessment
are other libraries using this type of tool for staff training
Are other libraries using this type of tool for staff training?

Barton, E, & Burns, A. (2006).“Ref Logs Now” Library

Journal, 131 (16), 28-30 .

  • “I know this question came up last semester, but I can’t remember the best sources to use”

Smith, M. (2006). “A Tool for All Places: a Web-Based

Reference Statistics System” Reference Services Review,

34 (2), 298-315.

what are other librarians saying
What are other librarians saying?


what do you like about libstats
What do you like about Libstats?

Search to find answers to frequently asked questions

  • I like that Libstats is keyword searchable and you can look up your own initials to see all the transactions you’ve entered.

I like that there is a record of the actual transaction, and you can learn from what other people have done.

training staff to use libstats it s easy to use staff survey response
Training Staff to use Libstats“It's easy to use” Staff Survey Response
  • Recording Reference Transactions guide was created and posted to General Reference wiki
    • Updates added continually
  • Training sessions held on case by case basis for new staff along with yearly refresher sessions for returning Help Desk staff
staff training
Staff Training

“I think it’s (Libstats) useful to know what has been going on, especially if there are ongoing or similar questions. Also, it’s a learning tool because sometimes people give different answers than I would.”Staff Survey Response

training perspectives on libstats
Training Perspectives on Libstats
  • Determine training needs and strengths of reference staff
  • Learn how to handle certain types of questions
  • See how others answer similar questions
  • Form of staff communication
  • Use for reference evaluation
  • Allows collaborative learning
answer certain types of questions
Answer Certain Types of Questions
  • Scavenger hunts
  • Class assignments
  • Known Problems/Issues
scavenger hunts
Scavenger Hunts

Q: Where can I find the volume and issue numbers for Jan.-March 1983 issues of Time? Is the microfilm collection stored in alphabetical or call number order? How can I find out the major headline on the New York times for December 8, 1941?

  • A: v. 121, no. 1 thru v. 121, no. 13/call number order/Microforms (3rd Floor, Hale) *Note: this is a Speech "scavenger hunt" assignment we also got thru IM last week.
class assignments use in case of recurring class project questions libstats survey response
Class Assignments“Use in case of recurring class project questions” Libstats Survey Response
  • Q: Marketing class assignment MKTG 542 - looking for industry info using list of sources from instructor
  • A: student was looking for U.S. Market Trends and Forecasts - it is in Stacks due to old age. We looked at the Marketing & Int'l Business subject guide page. Used Business and Company Resource Center, Industry: Child Care - had some more recent info that looked helpful. She also used ABI/Inform for articles.
Known Issue/Problem“See if there have been any computer or technical problems” Libstats Survey Response
  • Q: What does it mean when the Cash to Chip machine says "Card is Mute"?
  • A: Not sure--anyone know this? [Yes - from staff member X - it means that their chip is bad. Sometimes you can fix it by rubbing it with a piece of cloth, such as your shirt. Cotton seems to work best. But if that doesn't work, they need to go to the ID card center and get a new one]
similar question but different answer
Similar Question, but Different Answer

Q: how to cite information from a website in APA style

A: used APA manual, plus examples on APA web page, plus KSUL APA guide under Citing Resources

Q: questions about APA style and electronic resources

A: suggested where to find more information on citation style for e-resources (OWL at Purdue)

Q: How do I do in-text citations in APA?

A: I referred her to the APA citation manual and showed her the section in chapter 3 that addresses in-text citations.

evaluation reference batting practice
Evaluation: Reference Batting Practice
  • Group Discussion and Reflection
    • Grand Slam, Home Run,

Strike Out, Bunt, Ball

subject librarian assessment
Subject Librarian Assessment

“To see what types of questions are being asked, whether any are from my departments, and how questions are being answered”

Staff Survey Response

  • Subject librarians read and evaluate questions answered by other library staff
    • Discuss questions/answers as a group or individually to provide training in subject area of need
collaborative learning
Collaborative Learning

Subject Librarian Sessions

Batting Practice

Dialogue, Reflection, Assessment

Challenge Assumptions

What can we do differently?

New Collective Knowledge

future training considerations
Future Training Considerations
  • Utilize more controlled vocabulary or codes in the question/answer areas for more refined search capability
  • Create FAQS for future training purposes based on actual Libstats questions
  • Have subject librarians create stock answers to common questions
management decisions
Management Decisions
  • A wealth of reference data can help management:
    • Identify opportunities for improving services
    • Determine when and how to staff service points
service improvement helping patrons pay for printing
Service Improvement: Helping Patrons Pay for Printing

Before LibStats:

  • Anecdotal evidence
  • Lack of awareness of magnitude of problem
service improvement helping patrons pay for printing1
Service Improvement: Helping Patrons Pay for Printing

LibStats helped document the problem:

service improvement helping patrons pay for printing3
Service Improvement: Helping Patrons Pay for Printing

Danielle worked with the printing system

managers to create a special printing account.

service improvement fax machine
Service Improvement: Fax Machine

Hale library had fax machine until mid March

Question: Should we get one?

Answer: Search LibStats for “fax machine” to assess extent of need.

service improvement other examples
Service Improvement: Other Examples
  • Change machine
    • LibStats documented need for machine offering change for bills larger than $5
  • Scanner settings
    • LibStats supported request for change to default settings on our scanners
  • Future possibilities
    • Collection Development
    • Changes to Website
staffing decisions
Staffing Decisions

LibStats automatically records time, date, and day of week for every transaction.

staffing decisions1
Staffing Decisions

LibStats includes seven report options:

staffing decisions2
Staffing Decisions

Data Dump is best for complex analysis

Step 1: Save the data to your computer.

staffing decisions3
Staffing Decisions

Step 2: Open Excel

Step 3: Import the data

staffing decisions4
Staffing Decisions

Text Import Wizard opens.

Select delimited file.

staffing decisions5
Staffing Decisions

Indicate that commas are used for the delimiter.

staffing decisions6
Staffing Decisions

Click Finish.

Import Data box will appear.

Select Existing Worksheet.

staffing decisions8
Staffing Decisions

Danielle has been using the data to answer several questions:

  • When to staff IM off the desk
  • When to have two staff at desk versus one.
  • When to experiment with closing Reception Desk
  • At what times is it most essential to have staff with technical expertise?
when to staff im off the desk
When to staff IM off the desk

Question: When is IM service slow enough between 8-5 M-F to staff from the Hale Library Help Desk?


  • Sort data by question format
  • Sort IM by day of week, then by time
  • Count number of IM transactions for each hour of each day.
when to staff im off the desk1
When to staff IM off the desk


Decision: staff IM off desk 10-5 M-F

when to single staff the desk
When to single staff the desk

Question: When is the Hale Library Help Desk slow enough to have just one staff person working there?


  • Sort data by day of week, then by time
  • Create a separate worksheet for each day.
  • Count number of transactions for each hour for each day.
when to single staff the desk8
When to single-staff the desk


The times during which it is most essential to double-staff the desk are 10-3 Monday – Friday.

when to experiment with closing reception desk
When to experiment with closing Reception Desk

Question: What are the two two-hour periods M-F when the Hale Library Help Desk is slowest?

Analysis: Use previous data

Decision: Monday & Wednesday 8 -10 am

when should most technically adept staff work the desk
When should most technically adept staff work the desk?

Question: When does the desk receive the most technology related questions?


  • Sort data by question type
  • Sort technology and technology referrals by day and then by time.
  • Count total for each day and time.
when should most technically adept staff work the desk1
When should most technically adept staff work the desk?


Answer: Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday 10-3

benefits of libstats
Benefits of Libstats
  • Knowledge base
    • Replaced tally sheet and transcribing
    • Compare answers
    • Staff training
    • Informed decision making
    • Targeted and informed instruction resources
    • Improved service