Primary Research Group has published Virtual Reference Benchmarks, ISBN 978-157440- 274-2

James Moses primarydat at AOL.COM
Wed Jan 29 09:22:53 EST 2014

Primary Research Group has published Virtual Reference Benchmarks, ISBN 978-157440- 274-2 

The 189-page study presents results of an exhaustive questionnaire about virtual reference services answered by more than 50 academic, public and special libraries covering issues such as budgets, software and services use, consortia membership, partnerships, library staff time consumed, number of reference questions answered, time taken to provide responses, and the tracking of reference answers and the development of a reference database. The study also looks at reference question & answer delivery vehicles such as web forms, instant messaging, email, phone, Facebook, Twitter, Skype and more.  The report also looks at the various costs of virtual reference – telecommunications, manpower, technology and equipment and at how libraries are using and safeguarding their reference response databases.

The study presents data from more than 50 academic, public and special libraries about their virtual reference systems.  Data is broken out separately for these types of libraries, as well as by other criteria, such as the number of years that virtual reference has been in use, type of virtual reference service offered, and library size. 

Just a few of the report’s many findings are that:

•	Nearly a third (31.37 percent) of all libraries in the survey participate in a virtual reference consortium, including 40 percent of academic libraries. 
•	A third of all participants with 150 or more library employees use text messaging facilitator LibraryH3lp.
•	Special librarians in the sample provided the quickest response times to real time reference questions, a mean of 7 minutes.
•	Academic libraries in the sample that use web forms to receive virtual reference questions received a mean of 1,587 through this venue in the past year.
•	Just 7.84 percent of survey participants offer virtual reference through Skype.
•	More than 57% of public libraries in the sample accept virtual reference questions through Facebook but just 10% of academic libraries sampled did the same.
•	40% of libraries with less than 5 employees strip identifying information from virtual reference transcripts.
•	30% of academic libraries in the sample had a line item in the library budget for virtual reference services.

For further information view our website at


To unsubscribe:

Web4Lib Web Site:


More information about the Web4lib mailing list