5. Data Gathering and Evaluation

This section includes sites that develop, test, and refine methods of gathering and evaluating data in digital and face-to-face reference. It includes tools on maintaining, tracking, and storing reference transactions. There are resources in this section for academic and public libraries.

 

We welcome suggestions for additional web sites. For this section, please send suggestions to Sarah J. Hammill at hammills@fiu.edu.

Introductory sites on Data Gathering and Evaluation 

Data Gathering Practices in the Networked Environment
http://www.lib.baskent.edu.tr/tez/ARL%20213%20Data%20Gathering.htm

Overview of methods for gathering data on e-resources and services (including reference statistics) prepared for ARL’s E-Metrics project. For ongoing updates from the E-Metrics project, see http://www.arl.org/stats/newmeas/emetrics/.

 

Library Statistics

http://www.libraryhq.com/libstats.html

A portal to sites providing descriptive statistics about libraries. Many of these sites also contain guidelines for data gathering and reporting. Part of LibraryHQ, developed and managed by Katharine Garstka.

 

Selected Bibliography of Reference Statistics Sources

http://www.sls.lib.il.us/reference/workshop/refstatbib.html

Compiled by David Seleb and Glenn Kersten of the Suburban Library System, this bibliography includes resources on the ins and outs of gathering data about reference services.  

Gathering of Reference Transactions 

QuIP – Question Interchange Profile

http://www.vrd.org/Tech/QuIP/index.shtml

QuIP is a threaded data format that relies on metadata to maintain, track, and store services’ questions and answers in a consistent file format. This component of the U.S. Department of Education’s Virtual Reference Desk (VRD) project is particularly relevant to data collection.

 

SPEC Kit 268: Reference Services Statistics & Assessment

http://www.arl.org/spec/268sum.html

This Association of Research Libraries (ARL) SPEC kit examines and documents how ARL member libraries are collecting and using their data on reference service transactions. The exhaustive report summary is free; the entire work, including supporting documentation, is available for purchase.  

Evaluation of Reference Transactions 

Statistics, measures, and quality standards for assessing digital reference library services: Guidelines and procedures field test draft (2002, March 8)

http://quartz.syr.edu/quality/Field_Test_Draft.pdf

An excellent report by a team of researchers (C.R. McClure, R. D. Lankes, M. Gross, and B. Choltco-Devlin) from Florida State University and SyracuseUniversity covering the data collection methods developed for the “Assessing Quality in Digital Reference Study.”

 

Library Statistics & Measures

http://web.syr.edu/~jryan/infopro/stats.html

Compiled by Joe Ryan at Syracuse as part of his “Information Resources for Information Professionals” site.

 

University of Guelph Virtual Reference Project

http://www.lib.uoguelph.ca/help/chat/VRD/vrdevaluation.html

Results, methodology, and other supporting documents from the University of Guelph’s ongoing assessment of their virtual reference services.

 

An Unobtrusive Evaluation of Online Real Time Library Reference Services

http://www.lib.umd.edu/groups/digref/kaskearnoldunobtrusive.html

Paper by Neal Kaske and Julie Arnold presented at the Library Research Round Table, American Library Association Annual Conference, Atlanta, Georgia, June 15, 2002. An empirical study intended to determine the performance of online reference, whether the 55% rule applies to online reference, and ways to improve reference service through studying transaction logs.  

Research done by Single Institutions 

Reference Transactions Sampling Plan, University of Maryland Libraries 

http://www.lib.umd.edu/MIS/LARC/reference.html

Created by Irma Dillon at University of Maryland, this site lays out a clear and comprehensive system for sampling reference transactions.

 

Why do you ask? Reference Statistics for Library Planning 

http://home.hio.no/~tord/perm/pub/co01.htm

Paper presented by Tord Høivik (Oslo University College) at IFLA Statistics Section (2002) outlining an exhaustive study of reference activity at Norwegian public libraries. Both virtual and in-person transactions are examined.

 

University of Guelph Virtual Reference Project

http://www.lib.uoguelph.ca/help/chat/VRD/vrdevaluation.html

Results, methodology, and other supporting documents from the University of Guelph’s ongoing assessment of their virtual reference services.