New Brunswick Information Services Group (ISG) 
Meeting Minutes 
Date: June 23, 1999 
Place: Kilmer Library 
Recorder : Scott Hines 

Present : Ferris Olin, Scott McMillan, Uma Swamy, Jeris Cassel, Kevin
McGuire, Ilona Caparros, Scott Hines, Penny Page

Agenda 
1. Introductions: First meeting of entire team (staff included)
2. 1999-2000 plans: Report on 6/18 NBL faculty meeting and agenda for
7/16 NBL meeting; discussions of goals for coming year
3. Statistics:
Off Ref Desk Stats
NBL Reference Stats Chart
Centralization of Monthly Stats Reports?
Ref definitions- discussion and distribution
(Jeris)
4. Voucher: Evaluate this year's allocations; reporting procedure;
budget planning for 1999-2000
5. NBL Reference Manual- what's next?
6. Other business

Minutes 
1. Introductions of team members included introduction of Information
Assistants Kevin McGuire (Kilmer), Scott McMillan (Douglass), and Uma
Swamy (LSM), as well as Scott Hines, local operations liaison to lsm
until January.

2. Mary Fetzer has taken over as NB Faculty chair and Myoung Wilson
takes over as Information Services Group chair for 1999-2000. Jeris and
Penny take over as co-leaders of the ISG Coordinating Team. Myoung
suggested at the June NBL faculty meeting that the next NBL meeting on
July 16 include a discussion of programmatic goals for the coming year.
Her call was to focus not on organizational issues but on substantive
ideas for program and service improvements in information services. She
mentioned issues and criticisms that came out of SACOPS, including the
issue of Saturday reference, posting library hours in timely fashion,
and the issue of what is communicated to the public by our phrases
"information services", "user services" and "reference services".
Brainstorming on goals for information services for the coming year;
various members of the team offered suggestions for goals and discussion
topics for the coming year:
* Integrating branches and their issues more fully into coordinating
team's work.
* Move ahead on NB-wide reference policy manual
* Issue of whom we serve - primary users are RU, but on weekends we get
high schoolers and the general public. Douglass statistics are low on
Saturday, but KLMR and LSM get lots on Saturday. Western Monmouth
students coming up may have some impact at some point.
* Statistics - should we continue and develop further?
* "On-call" and backup librarians
* Issue of information desk - discussion and testing; implementation of
recommendations of NBL Faculty information services July 1998 document.
* Email and online reference services in support of distance learning
and teaching faculty's online courses.

3. Statistics
All team members, please send stats on off-desk reference to Ferris. If
you don't have data, send a note indicating that no data exists.

Uma Swamy will do a tally of off-desk stats for all libraries as soon as
she has all the data sent by team members.
Uma also created a NB-wide reference desk stats collection form. Uma
will add lines for reporting of off-desk and email reference activities.
ALEX will not use this form for collection but will transfer its stats
to the form for reporting to ISG. This form will be distributed to NBL
faculty as draft. Whether to report off-desk and email activities only
on sampling days or at all times was discussed and all agreed that
collecting those stats on our NBL ref stats collection form along with
on-desk stats all the time would be best. We need to discuss further
ways to encourage reporting of these stats.

Ferris drew up a diagram that illustrates the fact that stats collection
is still done building by building. We are organized functionally so why
don't we collect and report stats along functional lines? Access
Services and Collection Services have staff who collect and report stats
to Nancy, but Information Services has no staff attached to it in the
functional organization. Our staff is the administrative team, but they
are not organized functionally. If we are serious about using stats in
NBL to make decisions, we need to collect and report stats along
functional lines New Brunswick-wide, generating reports for our own
analysis and decision making instead of waiting to get the printouts
from Nancy Hendrickson's stats reports. Ferris will email Arlene and
Ryoko about admin team's stats collection activities to see of we can
work out a functionally organized collection and reporting process.
Jeris led a discussion of reference statistics categories and
definitions. The stats that we report now are driven by ARL requirements
and definitions, but we should also collect stats according to
definitions that are useful to us for our own analysis and
decision-making. In general, we need more information on how much time
and effort is spent by reference service staff on various sorts of
activities. For example, do we count in our tallies any sort of follow
up or ongoing work with a particular user? ALEX once had a category
called "research" that helped to count more involved work with a
particular user who came to the desk. Jeris has a report from a
reference statistics workshop that counselled to "report number of
questions rather than number of people." But how do you determine when
one question ends and another begins? An important consideration that is
missed by simple tallies is this: we often conduct what might be called
a "mini-BI", spending a good amount of time showing a user how to use an
index and how to start to structure their queries. This is more and more
the case as new electronic resources come online. Kevin suggests that
"tally" statistics might be down, but effort expended is way up. He
suggested a system of tallies that uses 2 or three symbols to represent
various levels of effort required to help a particular patron. Each
symbol could be reported as a generic tally for ARL stats, but the
meaning of the symbols could be parsed for reporting to ourselves in
information services. The ARL definitions are still not clearly
understood, and Jeris will take questions for clarification of reference
stats definitions to Jeanne.

4. Voucher
This is the first year of central voucher allocations. How did it work?
We are assuming that we'll have the same allocation as we did in 98-99,
which was $38,924. Please send in your requirements for your areas to
Ferris. Jeris has already sent hers.

5. NBL Reference Policy Manual
Things that need to go in the NBL Information Services reference policy
manual were discussed. First is the mission statement. Coordinating
Committee is working on an RUL mission statement and that can also go in
the NB manual. Fernando Chang at Douglass went to a reference workshop
and brought back information on core competencies for reference. In the
past, discussions of core competencies have not led to definitive
outcomes. Ferris will email Myoung Wilson about making this a discussion
item at NBL faculty meeting.

Penny took topics from the last meeting at which the manual was
discussed and ordered them in terms of importance and possible placement
in the new manual. Her (tentative) list is :
* Mission
* Ethics
* Objectives
* Levels or types of service
* Reference collections
* Referrals
* Emergency procedures
* Reporting technical problems to systems
* Consortial and reciprocal relationships
* NBL organization

We can lift sections from the existing building manuals to start to
build the new manual. For next meeting, send content from your local
manual on ethics, objectives, and types/levels of service to Penny who
will copy and distribute for next meeting.

6. Ferris would like to thank everyone for a very productive year, and
to applaud the contributions of the Information Assistants.

Decisions made 
1. Statistics should be collected every day.
2. Statistics collection form will be revised to include off-desk and
email activities.
3. We should move to NB wide, functionally organized process for
collecting reference statistics.
4. We should move toward reporting and analyzing reference statistics
within our NBL Information Services functional group on a regular and
ongoing basis.
5. We should move toward collecting reference statistics that more
extensively track time and effort spent on helping users with
information services requests.

Tasks to be completed by next meeting 
1. Uma will add Off-desk and Email categories to reference statistics
collection form.
2. Jeris will add revised collection form to packet of information on
statististics. This packet will be sent out to NBL faculty.
3. Ferris will email Arlene and Ryoko about functional organization of
statistics collection.
4. Jeris will take questions to Jeanne for clarification of ARL
reference statistics definitions.
5. Liaisons need to email to Jeris and Penny as soon as possible their
voucher budget requirements for the coming year.
6. Team members will send to Penny content from their local reference
manuals that covers these topics : ethics of service, objectives, and
types/levels of service.
7. Penny will collect, copy, and distribute at next meeting the local
reference manual content on those topics.
 
 

Future Meetings 
Day: Thursdays, at 9:30am in Room 012 at Kilmer Library 

August 12, 1999. 
September 16, 1999 
October 21, 1999 
November 18, 1999 
December 16, 1999