AALL Spectrum

AALL Spectrum / September/October 2018 / Volume 23, Number 1

AALL Spectrum / Published by American Association of Law Libraries

Issue link: http://epubs.aallnet.org/i/1016225

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20 AALL SPECTRUM | WWW.AALLNET.ORG W e both started as research librarians at the University of California Los Angeles Law Library more than 20 years ago. Back then, we tracked reference desk requests each day with tick marks on a sheet of paper. We refer to this now as "data gathering for dummies." While this simple method recorded the number of requests in a given time period, it provided almost zero value (how often do tick marks ever get aggregated?), and we lost the most useful information, such as the questions and the answers. Faculty submitted requests almost exclusively via email or phone back then, which is still true today. Our biggest innovation at the time was to print each unassigned faculty request and tape it to an old file cabinet with the idea that a visual of our growing workload would encourage us to take more requests. The unintended effect was group avoidance of the file cabi- net and a de facto game of chicken with the faculty requests. Time passed and things got better. Although we now work at two very different institutions—a law school and a law firm—both of our libraries must run efficiently and cost-effectively while still exceeding our users' expectations. One way we accomplish this is by tracking research requests in an online system that provides us with the data we need to better under- stand our users, staff, and organizations. How using reference statistics can help us better understand our users, staff, and organizations. BY AMY ATCHISON & JUNE H. LIEBERT GETTING STARTED WITH REFERENCE TRACKING SYSTEMS & DATA ANALYTICS DATA-DRIVEN DECISION- MAKING

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