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Staff Guide: Reference Statistics

Reference Statistics Form

Old Reference Questions (2014-2017)

New Reference Statistics Guidelines


Reference Statistic Form Guidelines

The Reference Statistics Form has been designed such that it includes both Reference Transactions and Directional and Technology questions. Only questions reported under the Questions Types of “Topic”, “Information Skills”, and “Copyright” will be reported in end of year reports as “Reference Transactions, while “Directional”, Technology”, and “Services/Policy” questions will be recorded and calculated for in-house use.


ACRL Definition of a Reference Transaction:

Transactions and consultation interactions are information contacts that involve the knowledge, use, recommendations, interpretation, or instruction in the use of one or more information sources by a member of the library staff. Information sources include printed and non-printed materials, machine-readable databases (including assistance with computer searching), the library’s own catalogs and other holdings records, other libraries and institutions through communication or referral, and persons both inside and outside the library.


Accessing the Form

  • Reference questions are to be recorded in the Reference Questions form within SpringShare’s RefAnalytics (under LibAnswers).
  • The form can be accessed through LibAnswers, or by following the links available on the Librarian Guides.
  • Student Assistants should enter information about all questions on the Google Form found on the Library Assistant Guide and at
  • Library Assistants may use either form. If a Library Assistant chooses to use the RefAnalytics Form, they may log in as themselves or under the PublicServices.Library@Marist email account.


Completing the form

  • Record each question as a separate reference query. For example, if a patron asks two different questions, record each.
  • Record questions in the first available (smaller) text box. If more space is needed, use the internal note field. We are not currently using the larger question submission text box.
  • You are not required to submit your answers in the “Answer” text box, though you may use this space if you would like to indicate useful information on likely repeat questions. This will only be viewable by other librarians.
  • DO NOT select the option to “Include this transaction in the public knowledge base”.
  • If a question is recorded more than an hour past the time it was received, you may edit the date and time of the question by selecting “Time Stamp: Edit Date/Time”.
  • Complete ALL drop-down parts of the form to the best of your ability.
  • When recording, choose the appropriate Subject Area related to the question. Select a subject based upon the question or title of a resource.  For example: “Do we have The Great Gatsby?” Subject: English.  We may not know what class they are using it for, but use your judgement to assign a subject.
  • Please use your best judgement to select a subject category. Leave this area blank ONLY if there is no possibly applicable subject area
  • If it is clear that a question is regarding either a First Year Seminar or Writing For College assignment, include FYS or WFC in the Internal Notes field.


Viewing and Editing Statistics

  • Recorded questions can be edited by going into LibApps, selecting RefAnalytics from the top menu, and selecting “View/Edit Transactions” from the dropdown menu.


Submitting your Response

  • Submit & Clear submits the current transaction and clears all analytics fields in the process, so when you are submitting the new transaction you have to re-select all new field values.
  • Clicking Submit will submit the current transaction and the analytics fields you have currently selected will stay selected. This is useful if you are entering many similar transactions at once and you don't need to change many fields between transactions.


Submitting ALL Reference Questions

  • Questions should be submitted no matter the location and by all members of library staff, including Library Student Assistants.
  • If a librarian receives a reference email to their personal Marist account or a direct telephone call asking a reference question, it should be recorded on the Reference Statistics Form.  If the email leads to a project with faculty or staff member, only record the original email.
  • We do not provide technology instruction and support to patrons and technical support should not be promoted as a service provided by the Library.  If you decide to answer a simple technical question at the reference desk, record the question as a “Technology Question.” Remember, answering a technical question is at your personal discretion.
  • Student Assistants should be directing more complex reference questions to librarians.


Subject Category Definitions

Select the most appropriate subject category based upon the information available. An educated guess is preferred to not selecting a category. ONLY leave this section blank if there is no specific subject matter relevant to the question.


Subject Category

Use for:


Accounting, Business. Public Administration


Studio Art, Art History, Fashion Design, Fashion Merchandising, Museum Studies  


Athletic Training, Physical Therapy

BIOL/ Biomedical

Biology, Biomedical, Physician’s Assistants


Chemistry, Physics


Computer Science, Math


Communications, Journalism, Advertising, Public Relations, Media Production, Cinema History, Music


Criminal Justice


Education, Educational Psychology


English, Literature


Environmental Science




Modern Languages and Cultures


Philosophy, Ethics, Religious Studies


Political Science


Paralegal, Legal Research




Social Work, Sociology



updated 8/20/2018