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ACRL Statistics Instructions: Reference (16)

OSULP Instructions: Reference (16, 16a)

To answer the question Reference Transactions (Q16), refer to LibAnalytics as your primary source. Library Administration also maintains a spreadsheet of reference interactions on the Shared Drive but use this only as a secondary source.

Be sure to include in-person, chat, and email transactions. Do not include directional transactions.


Note: Due to the inconsistency of previous reference transaction statistics - the last five years (Fy09-F13) were not recalculated.

ACRL Instructions: Reference (Q16)

A reference transaction is 

An information contact that involves the knowledge, use, recommendations, interpretation, or instruction in the use [or creation of] one or more information sources 

by a member of the library staff. The term includes information and referral service. Information sources include (a) printed and nonprinted materials; (b) machine-readable databases (including computer-assisted instruction); (c) the library’s own catalogs and other holdings records; (d) other libraries and institutions through communication or referral; and (e) persons both inside and outside the library. When a staff member uses information gained from previous use of information sources to answer a question, the [transaction] is reported as a [reference transaction] even if the source is not consulted again. [Note: this is a modified ANSI/NISO Z39.7-2004 definition for an information request] 

If a contact includes both reference and directional services, it should be reported as one reference transaction. Include virtual reference transactions (e.g., e-mail, WWW form, chat). Duration should not be an element in determining whether a transaction is a reference transaction. Sampling based on a typical week may be used to extrapolate TO A FULL YEAR. Please indicate if the figure is based on sampling.

EXCLUDE SIMPLE DIRECTIONAL QUESTIONS. A directional transaction is an information contact that facilitates the logistical use of the library and that does not involve the knowledge, use, recommendations, interpretation, or instruction in the use or creation of information sources other than those that describe the library, such as schedules, floor plans, and handbooks.