Judy distributed an RUL Graduate Student Survey "Issue and Ideas" document for discussion. Included were the various graduate student populations we could survey, sample hypotheses we could test, and sample questions we could ask. Judy requested input from the committee members: which graduate population do you think we should sample, how large should a sample be, and how many responses is enough? Also, what hypotheses would you like to test and based on that, questions to ask. Please share your ideas (in writing) with Judy by Feb. 5.
As part of the review of reference service by the Public Services Council, assessment of the quality of reference service has been deferred to the Assessment Committee. The committee discussed the effectiveness and possible applicability of the Wisconsin-Ohio Reference Evaluation Program at Rutgers. This evaluation program, developed by Marjorie Murfin and Charles Bung, is to assist reference librarians and managers in gathering information on their reference question answering success (as perceived by reference librarians and their patrons), as well as information on other factors that are present in the reference situation at the time each question is asked. By relating these factors to answering success, reference librarians and managers can explore ways of improving services. Over 200 libraries have used the program since 1983, and a number of libraries have done it more than once. The study is conducted during one or more "typical" weeks. Data is collected on every question asked during each chosen sampling period, until the specified number of directional and reference questions is reached.
The Association of Research Libraries, as part of the New Measures Initiative, is also looking at new service measures. One of the NMI projects, the LibQual+ project, is developed in conjunction with Texas A&M University. LibQual+ is a large-scale, user-based assessment of library service effectiveness across multiple universities. One of the goals of the project is the development of tools and protocols for evaluating library service quality. Its web-delivered survey instrument was piloted with 12 ARL libraries in the spring of 2000 will be further tested by additional ARL libraries and refined in the coming years. After a review of available service measures, it was suggested that we try to find out first the types of questions that are being asked at various library service points. The usefulness of this will be further discussed at the next committee meeting.
In light of changes that have taken place in a number of service areas, the Committee will also begin to review how library statistical data are being collected for affected activities.