Since we introduced LibAnswers at the Chicago ALA, pretty much everybody who has seen the system has been blown away (in a good way 😉 ). LibAnswers is the new, web 2.0 approach to online reference. Patrons can ask questions using natural language and the system will automatically suggest answers, the knowlege base can be queried and the questions can be asked from anywhere via widgets (i.e. from any web page, from courseware systems, from any blog, even from Twitter). The patron is notified via email when their submitted question has been answered. Librarians can embed videos and attach documents to answers. People can comment and improve answers. The statistics reports give a real-time insight into what questions are being asked (the super-awesome QuerySpy) etc. In short, the list of jaw-dropping features is impressive, and the positive buzz is well deserved.
But, what if you could combine LibAnswers web reference with other means of reference (in person, telephone, IM, sms, etc)? What if you could get an in-depth insight into the overall reference usage patterns and the types of questions being asked across all your reference service points? What if you could build a knowledge base of *all* reference transactions, regardless of the method or where the questions are asked? What if, with just a few clicks, you can see how many questions were asked by undergraduates at the Information Commons area in October? Or, How many questions were asked by faculty, for equipment request, during the last semester? How many Catalog Help questions were asked at the Reference Desk? How many questions are asked on weekends? At 8pm on weekdays? What if you could not only know how many questions were asked for any given set of parameters, but also see *what the questions were*?
And, what if all this was available in one easy to use, affordable, web based system which unifies all your online and off-line reference? You know where we’re going with this… Santa’s been good to you this year… because all this is now possible with LibAnswers Analytics. Yes, Virginia, LibAnswers can now be your one-stop-shop for all reference statistics, complete reference knowledge base, analytics reports, and more. A whole lot more!
We have prepared a LibGuide (what else?) describing the new LibAnswers Analytics module in detail, so please jump to http://help.libguides.com/libanswers-analytics and check it out. Then, log on to your LibAnswers system, click on the Analytics tab and prepare to be impressed. We should mention that this is the Beta release of the Analytics module so if you encounter a bump or two please let us know and we’ll take care of it asap.
The module will be available for licensing to all our existing and future LibAnswers clients starting in January. As always, we are eager to incorporate your feedback and make the Analytics module even more powerful, so let us know what you think – firstname.lastname@example.org.