Wednesday, March 20, 2013

#JSC2013: Elaine Dean - Reference is a two-way street: using data to improve library services

Libraries collect data about everything!  We report some of the statistics to associations and other organizations.
What are their needs saying about the services that the library is providing?
Data-driven decision making and evidence-based practice

"EBP is 'the conscientious, explicit and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of the individual patient. It means integrating individual clinical expertise with the best available external clinical evidence from systematic research.'" (Sackett D, 1996)

Why did they come here?  Why did they come to me?
Her library does have a drop in the number of people using reference services.  But why? Those that come are coming for a real reason.  What brought them in?  What can you learn from that?

Penn State University Libraries (multiple campuses) has over 100 service points.  They are using Desk Tracker to collect statistics.
Data collection needs to be consistent across campuses.
You need to operate as a system.

Data collection is just as important as assessment!
- if you don't have data collected in a usable way, you cannot do assessment.
- need to collect data for the things that you want to assess.
- know what you want to assess, then think about the data that you will need.
- use the notes field to enhance the information being collected.

Using data collected, Elaine found out that 35% of reference transitions included a technical component.
- personal computer support
- mobile device support
- account management
- software support
- mediate support
- and more...!
Used the data to talk to IT and get IT to place a support person in the library to handle these questions.

Desk Tracker is not meant to help you pull data out of the notes field.
Instead use what you know: entry terms and barcodes
Barcodes the entry terms to allow people to enter data more quickly and more accurately.
They were able to create barcodes themselves and at a low cost (basically time and paper).

In tracking questions around journal access, they were able to decide on resources needed to support digital journal access.  They created videos, that can be used on-demand, to help train people on accessing journals.

Create a solution, then move onto the next problem that needs to be solved.

Future plans for analysis:
- Analyzing content into themes to support website redesign 
- Identify  topics for instructional videos
- Continuing to evaluate the impact of the IT support specialist on library service
- Evaluate mobile/handheld resource program 

Our users are telling us much more than they realize.  We need to listen closely.

Data helps us justify our responses.

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