Many thanks to all those who kindly came back to me about how people collect Library Enquiry Services statistics and the methods to use.
Quite a few wanted me to share the results so here they are. Most tend to collect stats at different points (or throughout) the year and not just at SCONUL times and the methods used vary from manual (e.g. paper) to electronic.
1. We've just introduced LibAnalytics (from Springshare) as an online enquiry logging tool. This is used on our library enquiry desk - staff are expected to log enquiries under the SCONUL headings, and some extra details as well (e.g. user profile, length of enquiry etc). It's a very flexible piece of software and can also be used to record questions and answers, thereby building up a knowledge base to help staff with FAQs - or indeed unusual questions. We previously used traditional pen and paper but early indications are that staff are finding the new system easy to use - we're recording more enquiries which probably indicates there was a tendency to forget when we used five bar gates.
We'll probably use this at other service points when SCONUL enquiry week comes around. City University
2. This is very timely as we're looking at the same topic at the University of Worcester . Our situation is different to other university libraries as The Hive is a joint university and public library. Staff are roving so we have small desks but they aren't based there. This year we gave staff small cards listing the 4 topics used by SCONUL for information enquiries and asked them to keep a tally for each shift. The card was designed so it could be clipped to a lanyard or put in a pocket and team members were asked to complete one for each of their shifts during the sample week. They had to distinguish between university and public enquiries so that was an added complication and as we have a large number of people covering our opening hours we didn't get the message out to everyone about how to do this. We are reviewing the process for this academic year. We have a fixed Academic Helpdesk staffed by university librarians where we keep statistics of enquiries all year round - on paper. The information enquiry exercise described above was carried out for the SCONUL sample week only. Before we moved to The Hive in July 2012 we collected all statistics on paper tally sheets. We are rethinking our practice so I'd be very interested in seeing the information you receive if you're happy to share it. University of Worcester
3. We also use a mix of systems to get our statistics. Telephone enquiries are kept all year round via an RMS call logging database. Email, live chat and face to face enquiries are logged through a LibAnswers platform. Email and live chat are recorded all year round, whereas face to face enquiries in previous years have been just for Sconul returns and were paper based. We are just in the middle of a trial regarding recording face to face enquiries electronically again done through LibAnswers, but so far this looks like proving a huge success, not sure if we'll decide to do it as an all year round thing yet that will be part of our final evaluation of the trial. The using of RMS for the telephone enquiries is fast, but collating stats out of it is not good we find the reports offered don't pull statistics on what we want (some real basics). We're still in the honeymoon period with LibAnswers so everything is going swimmingly, but it's early days as I say. Could I ask for a copy of the feedback you get through LIS-LINK please. Edgehill
4. Here at NUI Maynooth we have just started using an enquiry management system called Knowall Enquire. It’s a software package which we customised to suit our requirements e.g. we can populate it with “quick queries” i.e. directional etc. or enter all other types of queries. For more in-depth queries we can also assign tasks to other groups in the library e.g. special collections request or acquisitions. We are rolling it out library-wide at the moment but our Information Desk are the primary users. Previous to this we used paper tick sheet but, as you rightly say, it didn’t capture all the kinds of queries we got. In Enquire, we’ve set up various reports for statistics gathering which we can (and do) run at any time. This is particularly good. Positives are that it is user-friendly, captures all those ‘quick’ queries, highlights the in-depth ones. Negatives – there was a settling period when stats were down but they’ve come back up again as staff get used to using it. Other than that its working out quite well. The website is http://www.baileysolutions.co.uk/knowall if you wish to take a look. NUI Maynooth
5. Here at the University of Edinburgh, in addition to the SCONUL recording week, we have this year recorded over a two week period in September face to face enquiries against a 50 point list of enquiry types at each of our 10 library helpdesks. This resulted in some 16,000 logs with a 50/50 split between our Main Library and 9 sites.
Part of the purpose of using the 50 point list of enquiry types was to trial useful headings for electronic enquiry capture. We are going to utilise our existing call management system (TopDesk) to allow quick call recording by way of helpdesk staff scanning users' University cards to identify the persons (or otherwise selecting an anonymous user), then selecting an enquiry type from a list, and completing the log. Our colleagues at Sheffield Hallam University are already using this tool. Our initial implementation is scheduled for end of November and more fully in 2014.
University of Edinburgh
6. We keep statistics throughout the year at Loughborough (and have done ever since I have been here, which is nine years ago). We record the stats on sheets on each enquiry desk and then transfer the data onto excel spread-sheets. We don't have any electronic recording as, to be honest, I have never seen the point in a high tech solution, when a low tech one works just as well. I use the information in quarterly reports to Management Group and also for providing business cases to Library and University Management. I also provide a summary in my annual report. Because we have years' worth of data (down to the hour on a specific day) it means I am able to provide analysis extremely quickly and don't have to wait to gather information - it has helped me achieve lots of things - increased staffing, reduction in short loan collection - I like to throw a number at people which I can support with evidence.
Loughborough University Library