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It seems customary practice now that there is a need for libraries to “justify” their relevance, impact, contributions, and more. Traditionally, we do this by looking at some basics - how many people walk through our doors, how many classes/workshops are we teaching, and how many people did we help at the reference desk? It is hard to deny when looking at these statistics that there are some obvious trends. In the reference realm, this traditionally translates to decreasing statistics - but are these statistics telling the whole story? Are our reference desk statistics really going down? Are there other statistics/analytics that can be brought into the discussion to provide a more accurate picture?
FIU Libraries has invested heavily in online content creation, online services, and the development of point-of-need unmediated services and resources. Those investments resulted in a whole new body of potential data points poised to statistically overtake our traditional reference services.
This chapter shows the process of identifying other tools, platforms or sites that could be offered as expansions of reference service offerings. It presents a new holistic definition of reference services analytics and offers real-life projects (solutions) that resulted from this strategic approach.
Reference offerings were broadened and diversified and now include virtual reference services and services to online students, a robust and varied library of LibGuides, and even strategically hired positions to concentrate on virtual learning, digital technologies, web services and development, and user experience.
Del Castillo, Melissa and Ball, Marissa C., "The Myth of the Declining Reference Statistic: Revealing Dynamic Reference Services through Digital Analytics" (2018). Works of the FIU Libraries. 83.
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