In Uncategorized



Measurement can be defined as an estimation or appraisal by a standard set of criterion (Merriam-Webster's on-line Dictionary). In terms of reference measurement is often used interchangeably with Evaluation. Reference librarians are chiefly concerned with measurement in terms of User Satisfaction.


Relation to Reference


Measurement of user satisfaction is essential to understanding and improving reference transactions. Past studies of user satisfaction have shown that around 55% of information seekers walk away satisfied from their reference transaction, this became known as the “55% Rule” (Hernon & McClure, 1986). This means that reference librarians correctly answer questions only slight more than half the time. The results of these studies are in stark contrast to user studies which have shown a much higher rate of satisfaction. A reference study evaluation conducted in Southern California by a panel of reference experts found that, “in 90 per cent of cases librarians recommended an accurate source or an accurate strategy in response to a user's query,” (Richardson 2002). This study also revealed that information seekers are most satisfied by librarians who adhere precisely to the reference skills listed in the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA)manual "Guidelines for Behavioral Performance of Reference and Information Services Professionals."


Related Concepts



Additional Resources



The Library Administration and Management Association (LAMA), a sub-division of the American Library Association (ALA), has a division called the The Measurement, Assessment, and Evaluation Section devoted exclusively to addressing the need for and uses of measurement of library services and resources.



The Reference and User Services Association is devoted to ensuring the highest quality reference and information service for all library users.






Christensen, B; Du Mont, M; Green. (2001). Taking note: assessing the performance of reference service in academic music libraries. A progress report. Notes. 58(1) pp.39-54


Dennison, K., Sanders, M., Sims, M. Marketing, (2005). Manpower and Measurement: Virtual Reference Service at LSU Libraries. Louisiana Libraries. 67(4) pp. 23-27


Hernon, P., & McClure, C. (1986). Unobtrusive reference testing: The 55 percent rule. Library Quarterly, 111(7), 37-41.


Richardson, J. (2002). Reference is better than we thought. Library Journal. 127(7) pp.41-42


Jeff Kaplan