Monday, November 29, 2010

Maintaining records

Introduction
Most reference areas maintain some records to measure how busy they are, or to justify staffing levels. The types of records kept vary from library to library. Some libraries place great importance on keeping detailed records of requests and statistics on usage. Others do not consider record-keeping necessary, or find it too time-consuming. In some instances, library staff need to present a statistical record to their management when trying to obtain additional staff or increase opening hours.

In the ideal environment, reference staff should
• record all details of an information search
• maintain appropriate statistics of inquiries.

Inquiry forms
Most libraries have a printed form which staff use to record the number of enquiries. Some use a form to record the details of a search such as the sources used, the time taken to answer the inquiry and whether the search was successful.

Exercise
Make an appointment to talk to a person who works at a reference desk in a library. Ask about the methods used to record
• the number of reference enquiries
• the types of reference enquiries
• the level of success answering reference queries

Based on the information gathered, decide whether you think this is an effective method of record-keeping.

Exercise
Look at the next three reference statistic sheets and fill in the tables below.

Example 1 – A public library

Reference and Directional Statistics

Library …………………………… Day …………………………… Date ………………….






































Reference inquiries Directional inquiries
Example Water conservation
1

2

3

4

5

Total
Total

Example 2 – An academic library

Reference Queries
Month ………………………….































Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Total
Up to 3 mins






Over 3 mins







Example 3 – A University library

Reference Enquiries

Date:

Location:

Time period:

Less than 2 minutes

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

26

27

28

29

30

31

32

33

34

35

36

37

38

39

40

41

42

43

44

45

46

47

48

49

50

51

52

53

54

55

56

57

58

59

60

61

62

63

64

65

66

67

68

69

70

71

72

73

74

75

76

77

78

79

80

81

82

83

84

85

86

87

88

89

90

91

92

93

94

95

96

97

98

99

100

101

102

103

104

105

106

107

108

109

110

111

112

113

114

115

116

117

118

119

120

121

122

123

124

125

126

127

128

129

130

131

132

133

134

135

136

137

138

139

140

141

142

143

144

145

146

147

148

149

150


Between 2 and 10 minutes

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

26

27

28

29

30

31

32

33

34

35

36

37

38

39

40

41

42

43

44

45

46

47

48

49

50


Greater than 10 minutes

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20





























Example 1
Example 2
Example 3
What information is being collected?
Collecting information on the total number of reference enquiries and of directional enquiries in one day. Also includes a brief description of the topic of the reference enquiries. Collecting total number of reference enquiries each day for a month.
Collecting total number of reference enquiries for 2 days.
What are the benefits of this form?
Clear layout, one can trace who answered the enquiry.
Has one month on a sheet so economical use of paper. Easy to fill in because you just cross out a number.
What are the problems with this form?
No indication of how long the enquiries took or who wanted the information. Only one day per sheet, so would use a lot of paper.
Not much room to write in. Only breaks enquiries into 2 categories - does not allow for longer enquiries.
Cluttered layout. Uses lots of paper.
Which form do you like best? Give reasons.




Example 4 – A special library

Reference Queries
Name: Date:
Organisation:
Address:
Phone no.: Fax:


Estimated date required by
Details of inquiry:




Sources checked: [ ] Catalogue [ ] Kinetica
[ ] CD-ROM [ ] Internet
[ ] Other…………………………..

Result/response:


Client: Form of response:
[ ] Internal [ ] In person
[ ] External [ ] Letter
[ ] Government [ ] Compliments slip
[ ] Student [ ] School [ ] Tertiary [ ] Fax
[ ] Researcher [ ] Telephone
[ ] Business [ ] Email
[ ] Media
[ ] Other

Date completed:…………………………….
Signature:…………………………………….

Example 5 – An Information centre

Information Request Form:

Name of requester:
Branch: Section:
Location:
Telephone no.: Fax no.:
Date of request: Date information required by:
Information required on:








This information is required for:


Types of information wanted (Please circle the ones you are interested in):
Journal articles / Books / Videos / Internet sites / Other (Please specify)
Time period to be searched (- eg last 5 years):
Geographic areas (- eg Australia only):



DATE COMPLETED: COMPLETED BY: TIME SPENT:

SOURCES USED:

Example 6 - A Special library





































Details

Name Phone
Division
Section
Date received
Received by
Branch
Location
Date required
Handled by
Request statement

Key words

Retrospective
Current
Manual Electronic
From (year)
ILL
Search (including sources with comments)
























Example 4
Example 5
Example 6
What information is being collected?
Collecting details of one enquiry including who wants the information, details of the enquiry, which sources were checked and how the library responded. Collecting details of who wants the information, the information required and why it is required and the type of information required including time period and geographic areas.
Collecting details of who wants the information, a request statement including suggested key words and comments on the search and sources used
What are the benefits of this form?
Includes lots of information so easy to analyze who requested the information and which sources are used most frequently.
Narrows down the type of information required, includes time spent on search. Asking for key words would help to narrow down the search. It is helpful to include comments on the search in case you receive a similiar request in the future.
What are the problems with this form?
Would take a long time to complete.
Would take a long time to complete.Would take a long time to complete.
Which form do you like best? Give reasons.



Example 7 – A Special Library

Online and CD-ROM search profile

Name:

Division:

Phone:

Search profile:


General description:

Suggested words:

Any known significant references:

Preferred form of output (printed or on disc):


Signed:

Date:

Example 8 – A Special Library

Online and CD-ROM search request form

Name of officer: Extension:
Section: Date:

Narrative description of topic:




Date required:

Known authors:
Known papers or articles: (list on reverse)
Types of Materials of Interest: All: If not “All”, please specify:
Articles: Reports: Patents: Conference papers:


Standards and specifications: Other:

Languages of Interest: All

If not “All”, please specify those of interest:

Years to be covered (only if such a limit is necessary):

How many relevant items do you think might be found?

Maximum amount of time to be spent:


Maximum amount of money to be spent (if applicable):

Example 9 – A Special Library

Online or CD-ROM Search Request































Name of requestor:

Section:Location:
Dates:
Short title of search:
Years to be covered:
English only? [ ] Yes [ ] No Other languages
Date search required by:
Abstracts required (if available)

Suggested databases:

REQUEST STATEMENT
Please describe subject of search as fully as possible -
define ambiguous or specialized terms, list keywords;
list any known authors, organizations or journals of
particular interest:
Please note any subjects of the topic NOT wanted:

Search (including sources with comments)
























Example 7
Example 8
Example 9
What information is being collected?
Collecting information on online and CD-ROM search.
Collecting information on online and CD-ROM search.
Collecting information on online and CD-ROM search.
What are the benefits of this form?
Asks for a general description of the search and also suggested keywords and any known significant references.
Allows for a narrative description of the search and asks for lots of detail on the type of information required. Includes the amount of time and money to be spent.
Asks for a short title of the search and also a more detailed description. Includes space for any aspects of the topic not wanted.
What are the problems with this form?
Does not include when the information is required by.
Would take a long time to complete. You would probably need to guide the client through the responses.
Would take a long time to complete.
Which form do you like best? Give reasons.

No comments: