Event Title

"Can you come tell people to be quiet?": Analyzing chat questions from on-campus and off-campus patrons

Session Format

Paper Presentation

Conference Tracks

Research Design and Planning

Short Description

When chatting, you often don't know if the person on the other end is in the building or across the country. Come hear about the differences between on- and off-campus chats, how often students self-identify as distance students in chat, and just how often students are getting disconnected - based on analyzing a semester's worth of chat reference transcripts.

Long Description

Our library currently receives almost 60% of its reference-related (non-direction/technical) questions via chat, and almost half of our total questions take place on chat. While we've been diligent in tracking the number and general amount of time involved in our chat reference interactions, no formal assessment of our chat reference service has taken place since its inception. This paper and presentation will report the results of a spring 2020 project analyzing one semester's worth of chat reference transcripts, looking for themes among the types of questions asked and common problems experienced with the software. The transcripts will be analyzed using Dedoose (web-based software for mixed methods research), using a combination of quantitative data available from LibAnswers and qualitative codes assigned manually in Dedoose. Since the transcripts include the IP address of each person chatting, this data can be broken down into on-campus and off-campus categories (since we have dynamic IP addresses, we can't separate the library out from other locations on campus). While we focused on making chat easy to use by making only the question field required to start chatting, it means we are not collecting identifying information such whether the patron is a distance student. However, many students self-identify as distance students when asking for resources, so information on this subset of chats will also be reported. Both paper and presentation will cover the methods used for the research, and the paper will include a list of the codes used.

Learning Objectives

  • Identify differences between on- and off-campus chat questions.
  • Recall tips for running a transcript analysis project.

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"Can you come tell people to be quiet?": Analyzing chat questions from on-campus and off-campus patrons

When chatting, you often don't know if the person on the other end is in the building or across the country. Come hear about the differences between on- and off-campus chats, how often students self-identify as distance students in chat, and just how often students are getting disconnected - based on analyzing a semester's worth of chat reference transcripts.