RUSA RSS Evaluation of Reference and User Services (Reference Services Section) Committee
Ellen Keith, Jane Stephens, Jenise Overmier, Jeremy Walker, Jerilyn Marshall, Paula Dempsey, Rebecca Graff
1) Research Project
* Request screenshots or pdfs of their data collection forms to ascertain what info is collected and extrapolate what has changed from the hash mark days.
* Get basic background info, such as type of library (academic, archive, medical, public, school, special, &c.) and how they use data (reporting, staffing decisions, hours, training, etc.).
* Ask a few open questions such as: what's the most useful thing you do with your data; what would you like to learn about your service, but do not currently measure; etc.
* Code the submissions into categories and analyze the results.
It was noted that ACRL has been updating what data they collect and how they define reference, Instructions and Definitions for 2015 ACRL Annual Survey https://acrl.countingopinions.com/docs/acrl/Instructions_definitions_2015.pdf>
Timeline & Responsibilities
What Who When
Create Google doc https://docs.google.com/document/d/1TWf9aRJCbdukqiZDu-vwU3ADDDMb2Vt4Cr1OGmYElt4/edit> Jenise 2/26
Develop possible questions Everyone 3/11
Set up meeting for determining questions Rebecca 3/8
Determine actual questions for survey Everyone Mid-March
IRB Approval Rebecca March
Setting up Qualtrics Survey Rebecca Late March
What lists should we send to?* Jenise March
Disseminate Survey April
Analyze data Everyone May-June
Report findings to all lists surveyed, etc. Everyone Late June
*rusa-l, libref-l, public library ref list???, rss-l, ...heads of ref depts.? Community college, special libs, and more
2) Committee Review - Comments? Clarifications?
Overall, looked accurate and raised good questions. There is, generally, a move toward research guide content encouraging the process of research rather than just producing a bibliography. Similarly, reference interactions should be considered as part of the research process - instruction & metacognition.
3) RUSA webinar proposals: Submit by March 8, 2016. Do we want to make a proposal?
Not yet. After we have completed our survey, we can have a more structured discussion.
- Fay Verburg Georgia Regents University/Reese Library
- Jane Stephens Texas A & M University, Evans Library
- Jenise Overmier American University Library
- Jeremy Walker Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar
- Jerilyn Marshall University of Northern Iowa Rod Library
- Paula Dempsey University of Illinois at Chicago
- Rebeca Graff SMU (Southern Methodist University)
- Terri Miller Michigan State University Library
* Name in italics = present
Goal/s, due by 10/30
- One suggestion is to find out what data is collected at reference, how it's used, and even where it goes. With this, we might put together a best practices guide to data collection.
- Work with the data collected in 2014 regarding reference service models
- Qualitatively assessing whether reference is meeting our service goals - what's not captured by the numbers? How are people doing this?
- How to assess service staff (reference, research help, basic info), especially during periods of transition or in tiered service models? Affect, correctness, willingness-to-return, appropriateness to audience, peer-mentoring. We could do a lit review this year and, possibly a follow-up survey next year. We'd like to do this, but need to determine has this already been done?
Scheduling Virtual Midwinter Meeting for January
We'll have a Doodle Poll in November/December.
Rebecca: Send link to previous survey info asap
All: Quick lit search by Wednesday, 10/28, to determine viability of this goal
Rebecca: Set up method of sharing search results (possibly ProQuest Flow)
A group made up of members of ERUS and Virtual Reference Services Committee distributed a survey in August/September 2013 with the goal to assess the state of the profession in the provision of virtual reference services. The analysis stage was completed and initial results were reported to ERUS at our ALA Annual meeting. Results will be shared more broadly, and recommendations for regular surveys on this topic will be explored.
ERUS also conducted a survey looking at reference service models and evaluation of service. At the close of the survey, we received a very large number of responses. Initial analysis of the results has begun and the goal is to disseminate the findings broadly. The committee will submit a proposal for a discussion forum at Midwinter 2015 on the this topic, with the hope that the survey results can be incorporated or used to inform the discussion.
Update: ERUS did compile a short report based on initial survey analysis and did hold a discussion forum at Midwinter 2015 titled: “Reference Services in Transition: Changing Models and Assessing Success.”
ERUS Goals 2014-2015
Status of Goals as of November 4, 2014
1. ERUS submitted a proposal for a discussion for at ALA Midwinter 2015.
Status of Goals as of September 9, 2014
- Based on the large number of responses we received from the Reference Service Models survey, a goal for the coming year is to propose a discussion forum for ALA Midwinter 2015. This discussion will be about changing reference service models and involve the analyzed survey results. The committee will begin working on a proposal for Midwinter in September/October 2014.
- The committee will work on compiling a report on results and disseminate the findings broadly on listservs and other channels.
- Based on the results of the survey on the current state of virtual reference services, recommendations have been made for the future this survey. The survey was conducted by and ad-hoc group made up of members of ERUS and the Virtual Reference Services Committee. ERUS will work with VRS to determine next steps and the future home of this survey.
Status update for Goals as of April 10, 2015
- ERUS held a discussion session at ALA Midwinter 2015, Reference Services in Transition: Changing Models and Assessing Success. There was a great turnout and a lot of great discussion. We started the session by distributing a report based on the survey results from 2014, which we then sent out to widely over listservs. This report and the notes from the session are available on ALA Connect.
- The committee is in the process of determining if further analysis of the survey results will be done.
- Following the work of ad-hoc group made up of members of ERUS and the Virtual Reference Services Committee, work with VR to determine plans for a regular survey in the future.
Notes from Reference Services in Transition: Changing Models and Assessing Success Discussion at Midwinter 2015by Jason Kruse on Wed, Feb 11, 2015 at 11:26 am
Attached are the notes from the Reference Services in Transition: Changing Models and Assessing Success Discussion at Midwinter 2015. Led by the Evaluation of Reference and User Services Committee (RSS)
The session was held on Saturday January 31, 2015, 3pm-4pm.
Also attached is an initial report from a survey ERUS conducted in January 2014. These results were used a a jump starter for the discussion session.
Please send any questions to
Chair, Evaluation of Reference and User Services Committee (RSS)
Traditional reference service models have been moving towards combined service desks, no service desks, triaged research help, among many other models. The goal for the discussion is to explore what new models are being employed, the benefits and/or drawbacks of changed models, and how new models are being assessed. To jumpstart this discussion, we will look at some of the results from a survey on reference service models conducted by the Evaluation of Reference and User Services Committee (RSS) in January 2014. This discussion is open to anyone interested in reference services in any type of library.