For Statewide and Local Reporting Purposes: FY19: Maryland AskUsNow! Statistical Sampling

Based on Liaison thoughts and feedback, the background responsibility of gathering and reporting the statistics will discontinue prior to Week 8, 2/17-2/23/19.  FY19 Statistical Sampling reports will continue to be available.  Please continue to use the statistics for your library's local reporting purposes.  Thank you to your libraries for taking the questions from our chat customers as opportunities to provide and instruct them to answers to their reference and library-specific needs.

I will be evaluating the effectiveness of the Statistical Sampling totals for statewide and local reporting purposes, and determine if the current sampling model will continue into FY20.

Please let me know if you have any questions.  Thank you for your continued commitment to the service.



What is Statistical Sampling?

Starting in July 2018, we will be in our fourth year of the "Maryland AskUsNow! Statistical Sampling" project.  We will be collecting the following data during our chat hours from Maryland AskUsNow! and Global chat customers:  the number of chat questions that we receive in each chat session

This is chat volume data that we can effectively collect and report at the statewide level using the READ Scale.      

We will be focusing on the number of "chat questions" received per chat session, a great majority of the questions answered during chat or referred to the customers' local library or statewide subject specialists for email follow-up. 

Our AskUsNow! stakeholders and partner libraries will continue to have statistics that define the high quality of service AskUsNow! chat providers give to chat customers.  For examples of these statistics, please see the FY18 Weighted Q3 YTD Stats or the "Service Measures" in the FY18 Dashboard Q3 YTDBesides these statistics being reported at the statewide level, AskUsNow! partner libraries can use these statistics for local reporting purposes.  


What is the Statistical Sampling process?

The 14-week process continues to give clearer and more accurate results about the types of questions that we receive from customers in and out of Maryland, compared to the past method of only measuring chat sessions and types of questions coming from Maryland customers.  14 weeks of collecting stats aligns with reporting that is done in cooperation with SLRC and gets reported to statewide stakeholders at the SLRC Commission, Maryland public and academic library directors, the Maryland State Library, and the IMLS.  14 weeks is also a modest sampling effort compared to libraries that collect statistics on a more frequent basis.

This process leads to an essential component of information needed in our reporting to the state and will also provide you with a figure that can be added to the number of reference questions you report to local governing bodies and stakeholders.

Please continue to give "credit where credit is due."  If you get multiple eBook questions in one chat session, these questions get multiple "3 marks" regardless of if they are easy for you to answer or not.  They are difficult questions from the customer's viewpoint, and this is what counts.

If you get a chat question where you work diligently on it, and send info to the customer, but the customer decides to not respond back about their satisfaction, then you should mark it with a Directional mark AND 1's, 2's, 3's, or 4's.

Does a chat get sent to follow-up after you tried your best to provide the customer with as much research help as possible?  The chat would get a Level 2 AND the other Level 1-4 marks that relate to the question(s).


Where do I get more information about Statistical Sampling?  Beside the stats being reported and presented statewide, can AskUsNow! partner libraries also report and present their local, Statistical Sampling totals?

The non-weighted and weighted statewide, 14 week totals that are sent to me are posted.  

Yes, please report and present your local, Statistical Sampling totals.  Local, Statistical Sampling totals are available in the weighted, quarterly Statistical Sampling totals OR in the Dashboards.  For examples of how to get to your local statistics, and also view them at the statewide level, please go to the FY18 Weighted Q3 YTD Stats or the "Service Measures" in the FY18 Dashboard Q3 YTD.  These examples are accessible at anytime.  


More information is available in the attachments about how to do Statistical Sampling.  


Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.  


Paul Chasen

Statewide Coordinator

Maryland AskUsNow!


Here are the dates randomly selected for FY19:

  • Week 1:  July 15-21, 2018
  • Week 2:  Aug 12-18, 2018
  • Week 3:  Aug 26-Sep 1, 2018
  • Week 4:  Sep 23-29, 2018
  • Week 5:  Oct 7-13, 2018
  • Week 6:  Nov 4-10, 2018
  • Week 7:  Nov 11-17, 2018
  • Week 8:  Feb 17-23, 2019
  • Week 9:  Mar 3-9, 2019
  • Week 10:  Mar 17-23, 2019
  • Week 11:  Mar 31-Apr 6, 2019
  • Week 12:  Apr 14-20, 2019
  • Week 13:  May 19-25, 2019
  • Week 14:  June 16-22, 2019

Goal:  Receive 25,000-30,000 chat questions.

Q1 Outputs:  

5384 Chat Questions Received 

  • Level 1:  686 
  • Level 2:  1742
  • Level 3:  1575
  • Level 4:  1381

Q2 YTD Outputs:

11,473 Chat Questions Received

  • Level 1:  1114
  • Level 2:  3049
  • Level 3:  3800
  • Level 4:  3510

Q3 YTD Outputs:

16,778 Chat Questions Received

  • Level 1:  1892
  • Level 2:  4263
  • Level 3:  5417
  • Level 4:  5207

Q4 YTD Outputs:

21,573 Chat Questions Received

  • Level 1:  2890  
  • Level 2:  5471
  • Level 3:  6862
  • Level 4:  6350






Some liaisons have requested information about online tracking tools. We created a sample tracking form using Google Forms. Please feel free to adapt or use as-is through your own Google account or preferred tracking platform.

Please review the attachments with your AskUsNow! providers.  We count on and appreciate your support in gathering the data.

Please contact Paul (; 443-984-4955) if you have any questions.


Thanks for your cooperation in continuing to have a key and crucial role and stake in collecting statistics for AskUsNow!.

FY19_StatisticalSampling_Examples_CountingChatQuestions_MarylandAskUsNow.pdf129.75 KB
FY19_StatisticalSampling_Dates_MarylandAskUsNow.pdf10.75 KB
FY19_StatisticalSampling_Sheets_MarylandAskUsNow.docx36.54 KB
FY19_StatisticalSampling_Examples_FindingTranscripts_MarylandAskUsNow.pdf220.04 KB
FY19_StatisticalSampling_Instructions&Examples_MarylandAskUsNow.pdf388.7 KB