Skip to Main Content

LibAnswers for Libraries - Your Communication Platform

Reference Analytics Helps You Enhance your Reference Statistics

Record all reference transactions (online or in person) in LibAnswers and produce detailed reference reports - handy when preparing year-end library use reports.

Get the Complete Picture of Your Reference Activity


What Is Reference Analytics?

Reference Analytics enables you to record important qualitative data about your online & in-person reference transactions.

  • Create Custom Data Variables - Who asked the question? Where? What was the difficulty level? Was it ready reference or in-depth research? You create the data variables that are important to you.
  • Multiple Datasets for Multiple Desks / Service Points - Do you collect different metadata for 'Circulation' style questions vs. reference questions? Each LibAnswers systems comes with 5 Datasets with an option to add more.
  • Fully Integrated into LibAnswers Workflows - Reference Analytics is fully integrated into the entire LibAnswers workflow so you can record your metadata when answering a LibChat, responding to a text-message, or answering an email.
  • For In-Person Data Recording Too - Reference Analytics also has a dedicated 'Record Transaction' page you can keep open and bookmarked for recording all your in-person reference questions.

Ways You Can Use Reference Analytics

These are just some examples to get your wheels turning!

Academic Library Use-Cases

  • Recording qualitative metadata across all your reference touchpoints.
  • Multi-building campuses can create datasets for each reference department.
  • Create separate datasets for circulation vs. reference vs. info desk questions.

Public Library Use-Cases

  • Set up individual datasets for collecting reference statistics across multiple branches.
  • Collect generic patron demographic data to see if you're servicing one group more than another. 
  • Create a dataset for Library Tours which have entirely different types of patron questions.

Reference Analytics Customization Options

Every library collects different kinds of data. Customize Reference Analytics to work for you:

  • Record an Unlimited Amount of Records - There's no limit to the number of transaction you record.
  • READ Scale Integration - The READ scale is a way to rank the effort and skills required to answer reference questions. It was developed at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. For more information on the scale, you can visit the READ Scale website.
  • Create Pre-Defined Questions - For those questions you get over and over, like 'what are your hours', configure pre-defined questions with pre-selected fields for point-and-click recording.
  • Add Up to 10 Metadata Fields for Dataset - To record qualitative data about your interactions like Question Type, Location, or Difficulty Level.
  • Automated Timestamp - manually choose the date/time or use our automated timestamp for faster recording.
  • Create an FAQ - did you just record a question and realize it would make a great FAQ for your Knowledge-base? You can do both from the same screen.

Analyze All Your Reference Data

Robust reports help you mine your data for trends:

  • Metadata Filtering - Filter your transactions on any combination of your metadata fields including timestamp, days of the week, times of the day, and full-text search on the Question / Answer.
  • Date / Time Stats - Do you get more LibChat questions at 2pm on Tuesdays than any other day of the week? Are Wednesdays your busiest day for in-person questions?
  • Metadata Comparison - Are you asked more questions in-person versus any other reference channel? Whats your most popular question type?
  • User Stats - View which staffers and librarians are answering the most questions.
  • Cross Tab Reports - Compare any metadata field to produce a customizable data table on the fly.


Cross Tab Reports