Fun with Numbers: Opportunities and Challenges in Collecting Library Use Data
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Gathering consistent statistics across multiple service points is a challenge for many institutions. Penn State uses Desk Tracker for recording reference transactions at 23 campuses, utilizing over 100 access points with over 500 faculty and staff entering data. In order to meet the challenges provided by the large number of access points and users, as well as the security demands of our IT department, we had to develop policy and procedures that may be of interest to other institutions considering a third party hosted system. The structure for user names and passwords is being shared with other teams within the Penn State Libraries that are recommending the use of third party hosted software. In that way, the policies and procedures that have been developed can be used within other frameworks. Data can be integrated into an individual's annual review, used in evaluating a unit's workload and assessing staffing decisions. Results can contribute to data shared with external groups such as ACRL. A cycle of evaluation and review has been established to continue to refine a process that was begun in January, 2010. This poster will outline how we met the challenges at each step of development and refinement.