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Policies and Procedures

Wayne G. Basler Library Policy and Procedures

Reference Assistance - Statistics

Statistics are kept on Reference Desk transactions to provide information for staffing purposes and various state and federal reports. Statistics kept include reference transactions, information/directional transactions, bibliographic instruction and mechanical inquiries.

Types of Transactions

A Reference Transaction is defined by ARL (Association of Research Libraries) as:

“an information contact that involves the knowledge, use, recommendations, interpretation, or instruction in the use of one or more information sources by a member of the library staff. The term includes information and referral service. Information sources include (a) printed and nonprinted material; (b) machine-readable databases (including computer-assisted instruction); (c) the library's own catalogs and other holdings records; (d) other libraries and institutions through communication or referral; and (e) persons both inside and outside the library. When a staff member uses information gained from previous use of information sources to answer a question, the transaction is reported as a reference transaction even if the source is not consulted again. If a contact includes both reference and directional services, it should be reported as one reference transaction. Duration should not be an element in determining whether a transaction is a reference transaction.“

A Directional Transaction is defined by ARL (Association of Research Libraries) as:

“an information contact that facilitates the logistical use of the library and that does not involve the knowledge, use, recommendations, interpretation, or instruction in the use of any information sources other than those that describe the library, such as schedules, floor plans, and handbooks.”

An Equipment/Mechanical Transaction is defined by the Wayne G. Basler Library as:

“an information contact that involves the repair, maintenance, or instruction in use of any type of mechanical equipment. This includes devices such as PC’s, iPads, copy machines, etc and the software contained on the device.”

Keeping accurate records of all statistics is extremely important!

Procedure

  1. Reference Librarians should keep accurate and timely statistics of the Reference transactions.
  2. All Reference statistics are logged into the LibAnswers platform.
  3. After each Reference transaction log the transaction by recording the following:
    1. The question
    2. The answer
    3. The time of service
    4. The mode of question (walk-up, telephone, etc)
    5. The type of Reference question
    6. The difficulty level