Archive for LibAnalytics

New to LibInsight: Track Individual Reference Questions, and More!

Up until now, to track and analyze reference questions, a library had to create a custom dataset. That’s still possible, of course, but if you’re a librarian who likes things in the right categories (and we know you are!), you can use a new option in the Reference Dataset to track those individual transactions.

How? When you create a Reference dataset in your LibInsight installation, you’ll see three options:

Screenshot of options to create Reference Dataset. They are read in the text below this image)

If you are tracking monthly statistics from another reference system, choose “For importing aggregate count of SMS, Chats, Tickets, & FAQs from my Reference system.” To have those numbers automatically harvested for you from LibAnswers, choose the second option. To enter details about each question answered at your desk, choose the third option, “To add individual Reference Questions.”

Bonus! You can integrate a READ scale field if you use that in your library. Analysis of the READ scale values is included in the dataset analysis.

Many folks use LibAnalytics to track their reference questions, and that’s great! LibInsight goes one further and gives you the power of all the field types in the Custom Dataset, applied to your Reference service! Add select fields for items like location or the method used to ask the question; add a multi-select field for items like “Resources Used.” Did you consult the catalog, a database, and a book from the ready reference shelf? No problem! Check all that apply. 🙂 Also available are Numeric, Monetary, Scale, and Date/Time fields. You can divide fields among three columns on the entry form and include text instructions, if you so wish.

Other New Features

We’ve also added a couple of new filters to analysis. For any select field, you can choose “is not” to see records that match all options except the one(s) you choose.

screenshot of the analyze screen with "is not" as the selected filter

We’ve added a multi-select filter to the analysis page for Gate Count datasets so that you can analyze related libraries / entrances as a group:

Screenshot of the gate count analyze screen with two branches selected

Last but not least! You can now edit your Custom and Shared dataset Pre-Defined entries from the Manage Datasets > your dataset screen:

Screenshot of the Manage Pre-defined Entries tab

New in LibAnalytics: Analytics Engine Overhaul

Our new analytics engine will turbo-charge your data analysis, making it possible to analyze exponentially larger datasets in LibAnalytics. What does that mean exactly? With the previous engine, sites with especially large numbers of individual records in a single dataset (in the neighborhood of 50,000 records) could experience lags and timeouts while generating reports. Fixing this issue required a major under the hood rewrite of how we store and return data. We’re happy to report that the new engine is ready for prime-time – we’ve tested it with the largest datasets we could find (more than 700,000 records!) and it performs admirably, without lags or dreaded timeouts.

Thanks to our rewritten analytics engine, we’ve also added a couple of frequently-requested reporting features:

  • Expanded Field Analysis – Run Analysis on Numeric and Text fields! To see this in action, head to a dataset and click View/Analyze Data > Field Analysis > Analyze All (Numeric or Text) Fields.
  • Frequency Analysis – The new Field Analysis options include Frequency Analysis – quickly view how frequently each numeric and text entry occurred. Just select Analyze All -> Numeric / Text fields.
  • Expanded Cross-tab Reports – We’ve added Numeric and Text fields to cross-tab analysis! Head to a dataset that contains free text and/or numeric fields and click View/analyze Data > Cross Tab Analysis.
  • “Inactive” Account Level – When a user leaves your institution, instead of reassigning all their data entries to someone else, just change their account status to Inactive. This will disable their account from logging in and recording new entries, while preserving the records they’ve created.

As always, a huge shout-out goes out to everyone who shared suggestions and feature requests – we love hearing from you!

LibAnalytics & the Institutional Review Board

There are few information gathering processes in academia as important as those of the Institutional Review Board (IRB). Federally-mandated in the U.S. (other nations have their own systems), IRBs are designed to protect the rights and welfare of human subjects who take part in research.

But the IRB process, while recognized as vital, can seem onerous to busy faculty and other researchers and even to members of the boards that sit in review.

At Asbury Theological Seminary (ATS) in Kentucky, LibAnalytics is helping streamline the IRB process for researchers, board members, and administrative staff alike.

We interviewed Greg Sigountos, Instructional Resource and Production Specialist at ATS, about their use of LibAnalytics for institutional review data collection and management. Here are some excerpts from our conversation.

Greg Sigountos

Greg Sigountos

Q: Is the Institutional Review Board administered by the library or are you doing this for a different unit in the institution?

The IRB isn’t technically administered by the library, but the Director of the Library is the chairperson, and our Administrative Assistant is the board’s recording secretary. Our IT and web services areas are busy with other major projects, so the question came up: could we take care of this in-house, and use LibAnalytics? LibAnalytics let us have control over all the steps in the review process, rather than have to work on other departments’ schedules.

Q. Tell us about the old IRB info gathering process.  What made you look for another way to do it?

The old way involved researchers downloading a fillable PDF, writing their answers down, and e-mailing the PDF. This was software-dependent: it required Adobe Reader, and sometimes in the past, the form stopped saving data for users. The form, once created, wasn’t editable by a user either. If a user wanted to resubmit or edit their request, they could copy and paste their previous answers, but then the OCR would produce bizarre errors, leading to emails back and forth asking for clarifications.

Q. How long have you been using LibAnalytics for the Institutional Review Board data?

LibAnalytics is new for us. In fact, having a data warehouse for the IRB records is new for us. We’re in an assessment crunch right now, though, and being able to store this data helps a lot. Using LibAnalytics for this has saved our department a lot of time and hassle.

Q. How do researchers access the LibAnalytics form?

Researchers access the form through our portal, on the same page as the old review link. I’m going to put together a LibGuide on institutional review as well, and will embed the widget there.  All the questions are in a single column by request, as once a user submits the form it’s printed as a PDF by the Administrative Assistant and circulated to the board, before an ID, decision, and reviewers are added for our records.


One section of the Institutional Review Board data collection form created in LibAnalytics at Asbury Theological Seminary.

There’s some jQuery in there to make certain questions appear based on the review type selected by the user, to keep it as uncluttered as possible for the end-user, as well as to break up a long checklist in the middle. The tooltips are made visible because of the length and importance of some of the descriptions, and because there’s a clickable link in one of them. The form also has a section where the user can select which additional forms they’ll need to attach, and the thank you message displays a list of those forms as a reminder

Q. How are you getting the records out of LibAnalytics and into PDF format for printing?

Printing is done from the view/analyze data section. I created a few print-specific stylesheet rules, and call a plugin so that multi-line text boxes expand vertically to match the amount of text. The fillable PDF would take 8-10 pages, depending on the length of some responses, but I’ve managed to knock that down to 3-4, which is a boon for readability. The board’s comments and recommendations can then be added into a few fields that are hidden on the widget, giving us a complete record.

Q. How has the new process been received by researchers?

Initial reports are good. There are still some pieces of the review process that can’t be put into the form, but I added some code to remind users which attachments they need to submit as supplements. We had our first resubmission happen recently, and it went through smoothly for the researcher- plus, we now have records of his first submission in case we need to track history.

Q. In addition to using LibAnalytics to streamline the process, are you analyzing the data and using it to help manage or guide institutional review at the school?

We are currently in an accreditation review period, so we’re analyzing every piece of data we currently have at the institution, and trying to put in place processes that will gather data we don’t have but are going to need. Right now, I don’t know what elements of the review process we’re going to actually analyze, but until then, it’s good to cast a wide net so that we have data to analyze down the road.

Greg Sigountos is the Instructional Resource and Production Specialist at Asbury Theological Seminary. He handles faculty support, some library infrastructure, and the design of the library’s websites.  The B.L. Fisher Library at ATS uses LibGuides, LibAnswers, and LibCal, in addition to LibAnalytics, to serve its user community.

LibAnalytics Insight Platform


We hope we got your blood pumping with yesterday’s post about the next-gen LibGuides. But there’s more good news to share – we’ve been busy working on another platform which, we believe, will have an even greater impact on libraries than LibGuides has had.

Here’s the scoop… We know librarians love statistics. You collect statistics on all aspects of library operations, and keep those in spreadsheets, tick sheets, on staff computers; some stats are stored in your opac, some are with your e-journals aggregators, etc. Also, things change – a new e-journals aggregator, new catalog (especially when we develop one – JUST KIDDIN’ ;), heck you even change staff members, so what happens with your data? The whole “data all over the place”, “big data”, “small data”, “who has my data?” situation is a mess.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have *one platform* to gather, hold (forever!), and analyze all your library statistics – to track usage and capture trends using flexible charting tools, to easily run cross tab reports, to view & sort data tables, and to export data into presentations, annual reports, conference papers, etc. Or, why not just pull up your tablet at a meeting or a conference and create charts on the spot! Want to easily compare your statistics with peer institutions? You should be able to!


LibAnalytics Insight is our brand new data storage and analysis platform. It is an optional upgrade to our base LibAnalytics tool, but what an upgrade it is! Here’s how it works… First, you upload your spreadsheet stats (soon we’ll offer direct hooks to import data via APIs automatically). You then mix and match various Datasets and analyze all your data. For example:

(All community comparison options are anonymous and on an opt-in basis.)

  • E-journals/Databases Analytics – with cost per click & cost per download analysis, platform-level usage and costs trends, journal-level analysis (top use/zero use journals, duplicate titles, etc.) You can also compare usage of any individual platform or a journal against peer institutions in the LibAnalytics community.
  • Acqusitions Analytics – get a visual representation of your acquisitions activity – by funding codes, item location, Library of Congress classification, format, etc. Compare your stats to the other institutions in our community.
  • Circulation Analytics – detailed insight into the circulation data – by location, by patron type, by popular items, by LC classification, etc. Create most-popular reports, compare annual trends on any combination of parameters, etc. And, of course, run Community Comparison reports to boot. 🙂
  • Store statitics for annual reports such as NCES statistics and the like. Compare annual trends for any NCES data points, draw charts and see how your library stacks up against the community – any NCES datapoint can be compared against your peers.
  • Track Library Budget trends? Heck, why not – LibAnalytics Insight makes it possible. Create as many budget categories as you want (expenditures or revenues such as printing fees, fines, grants, etc.) and track and analyze annual trends… whatever and however you need it.
  • Create Datasets for tracking website statistics, gatecounts, Reference use, Archives visits… If you can dream it, LibAnalytics Insight can track it, by creating a custom Dataset for your specific needs.

Keeping all your statistics in one place also enables you to cross-reference data and produce mashups to get new and interesting angles on the usage of your library resources. What about creating publicly accessible dashboards for your stakeholders and your patrons can view select statistics on how the library is being used? Check!

Going to ALA? Come to booth #563 for a preview of LibAnalytics Insight. If you can’t make it to Chicago, check out the link below for a screenshot tour.

LibAnalytics Insight will be available at the end of the summer, and will only cost a few thousand dollars per year. We know what you’ll say – is that all?. Yes it is – we make our tools affordable so that every library can take advantage of them.

LibAnalytics Insight Screenshots Preview


Attention Data Ninjas: New in LibAnalytics – Dataset Templates

A brand new version of LibAnalytics is coming your way – and 10 out of 10 early-adopters agree, the new functionality is bananas-awesome. Here’s a quick taste:

  • More field & data types, including multi-value select, date-pickers, and sliding scales,  to name a few
  • Enhanced Access Control limits access to Datasets to just users you designate
  • New Widgets to make data capture by librarians and non-librarians easier
  • New and Improved Charts with a bevy of new filtering and reporting options

For a great overview of the new functionality, check out our recorded overview:

We’re also thrilled to introduce our newest cool feature – Dataset Templates. We’ve heard from many ninjas that the toughest part of getting started with LibAnalytics is creating Datasets (formerly “instances”), so we’ve come up with a little something to help. These templates were created by the Springy Trainers, and are based on the things *we* used to collect at our libraries, like:

You can copy these templates into your system (select Create New Dataset & use the dropdown to Copy Fields From Springy’s Templates), then change the fields and values as necessary to make things relevant for your own institution. To view the full list of Dataset templates & detailed instructions, visit the Help Site.

The new LibAnalytics represents an entirely new code base, so if you haven’t switched to the new LibAnalytics yet, we’ll be migrating clients in stages this summer. Please contact us at and we’ll work out the best way & time to migrate your site to this awesome new system!

New in LibAnalytics: Duration Analysis

You probably know this about us by now, but when we hear great ideas from clients, we like to make them happen fast. Created thanks to a mix of great ideas and Ninja know-how, our new Duration Analysis report is a great way to view how much time you’re spending on transactions (instruction sessions, research consultations, etc.). Here’s how it works:

When you record a transaction, make sure you’re recording start and end time using the Time Stamp field:

Head to the Data Explorer, and generate a report based on any combination of fields and values. You’ll see a new report – Duration Analysis. Use this tab to discover:

    1. Total time spent on all transactions (how much time was spent delivering instruction/reference sessions?)
    2. Maximum & Minimum transaction durations (what’s the longest and shortest session time?)
    3. Average & Median transaction durations (what’s the average duration of your sessions?)
    4. Quick Links to the Longest and Shortest transactions (what’s this session that took 300 minutes?)

Plus, we’ve added a new report filter! The Optional Duration Filter filters reports based on transaction duration – use it to discover things like:

    1. Which transactions took < 30 minutes?
    2. Which transactions took > 60 minutes?
    3. Which transactions lasted exactly 45 minutes?
This new tool in the LibAnalytics Data Arsenal offers another insight into your library operations, and makes it that much easier to demonstrate the value and use of your library services. How much time are librarians spending on instruction for a department on campus? How much time is spent filling staff requests? Discovering data patterns and quickly retrieving relevant statistics helps you improve your services – and there is no better tool for it than LibAnalytics!

New LibAnalytics Features: Instance Designer and Widgets

We are announcing two important new features for LibAnalytics: Instance Designer and LibAnalytics Widgets. These new features open up a slew of possibilities to use LibAnalytics in a whole new way.

Our new Instance Designer makes it easy to fully customize the look and feel of your instance! It has everything from reordering fields using a drag-and-drop interface, to being able to define instructions and help text for each field. The new interface makes it easy to customize what your instance recording screen will look like.

And, we’re adding a new tool to your Data Ninja arsenal – LibAnalytics Widgets. Hold on to your hats, because we’re about to turn the concept of LibAnalytics “instances” on its ear!

When we talk about “instances”, all we mean is “a set of data that libraries want to track”. Up until now, the librarians were the only ones who could record this data in LibAnalytics. But we got to thinking – what if we open data-recording to users? What about collecting patron feedback? Satisfaction surveys, feedback on library instruction, website feedback, database trials… why should librarians always be the ones entering data? Open the data recording and collection to everyone, and then use our awesome analytics tools to make sense of all your data.

Thus, LibAnalytics Widgets were born! Forged in the dark fires of our ninja enclave, LibAnalytics widgets give you the power to collect user feedback right from the source. For example, let’s say you want to collect feedback about your library website. Create an instance for “Website Feedback”, and embed a widget on your library website. You can have the feedback widget appear on page load, on page exit, on button click, etc. Examples:

Floating Button Widget (note the feedback button on the left side of the screen)

Embedded Text Widget (note the purple area below the banner)

Or send an email to faculty with a link to your survey, like this:

LibAnalytics now enables you to collect all kinds of data, from all kinds of sources, all in one place. You can browse the data, find patterns, generate statistics, and analyze stuff like there’s no tomorrow.

If you thought it doesn’t get any better, well it does – a single instance of LibAnalytics is free, so sign up today and get started on your Data Ninja skills.

LibAnalytics: Numerical Analysis, Kapow!

We’ve added a new tool to the LibAnalytics data arsenal – Numerical Analysis! It’s perfect for answering these types of questions:

  • On average, how many people use your study rooms after 3pm on Thursdays?
  • In July, how many people were in the building before 10am?
  • What are the total and average number of attendees in your instruction sessions?
Numerical Analysis offers answers to all of these mysteries – it will give you the sum, average, median, and a max/min value for each numerical field you create. Here’s how to use it:
  1. Create an instance that contains numeric fields (head count, study room use, instruction attendance, etc.) & collect some data
  2. Head to the Data Explorer, and apply any filters you’d like (date/day/time, field values, etc.)
  3. Click “Apply Filters” – Numerical Analysis is the last tab option:
    Screenshot - Numerical Analysis Table
Numerical Analysis is a major advance in the LibAnalytics arsenal, and offers a new level of insight in the data you collect. With numbers like these in your holster, your annual reports will wave the white flag of surrender in no time. A big thanks goes out to the folks who requested this feature!

LibAnalytics: Customization Galore!

Last week we introduced you to our awesomesauce Cross Tab reports.
This week we’re all about bringing you the cherry on top: customization…and more customization!

1. Custom Ordering of Fields

You’re psyched you have so many options and can really record any data you want – we hear ya, it’s pretty darn sweet. But you also want to put them on the page in any order you want? Done.

For example, if you want to have a multiple choice field of “Location” and want one of the options to be “Other”, now you can put a free text field just under it and have people record what “Other” actually is.

Just think of the options…the freedom! Now go have fun rearranging your instances… 🙂

2. Custom Head Section For Each Instance

What to the what now?! Each instance in LibAnalytics now has a custom Head section where you can insert your own custom CSS or JavaScript. Use this field to customize the look and feel of each instance like hiding some fields or labels or creating a different layout. Awesomesauce? Indeed!

LibAnalytics: Cross Tab Reports are here!

If you thought LibAnalytics was tasty, then our new awesome-sauce feature will blow your data tastebuds away! Cross Tab Reporting is like the umami of comparative statistics.  It enables you to see a full comparison between any 2 multi-choice fields, making it easy to identify interdependencies between the data you track.

For instance, let’s say you’re tracking Reference transactions in your library. You might have chosen to track things like “Question Method” (in person, phone, email, IM, SMS) and “Who Asked the Question” (Undergraduate, Graduate, Faculty, Staff, Visitor). With Cross Tab Reports, you can create an instant comparison of the values in those two fields, making it easy to see where various users are asking questions:

Image of Cross Tab

Love it? Us too! Even better, you can filter cross tab report results by date range, day of the week / time of day, data entered, and/or text in the question. This helps reveal interdependencies in the data you track.

To get cooking with cross tab reports, LibAnalytics users can head to the Data Explorer, and select the “Cross Tab Report” tab. As always, thanks to the community for this most excellent feature suggestion!