Ask a Librarian Data Request Form
Ask a Librarian Data Access Policy

The Ontario Council of University Libraries’ Ask a Librarian service collects user data for the purposes of internal review and service improvement. The collection of this data is governed by the Ask a Librarian Privacy Policy (http://chat.scholarsportal.info/privacy.html).

OCUL’s Virtual Reference Governing Group is supportive of research involving virtual reference. User data can be made available to researchers at partner institutions for the purposes of research leading to publication. User data is not available to individuals not affiliated with Ask a Librarian partner institutions.

OCUL recognizes the value of virtual reference research to the library community. User data may be made available to researchers at partner institutions for the purposes of research leading to dissemination of results through publication, presentation or other means of distribution.

Prospective researchers are encouraged to discuss their data needs with their institution's site coordinator prior to submitting a request for data. Requests must be submitted via the appropriate form (see below). The requests are reviewed by a committee. Scholars Portal will maintain a record of all data released. When using Ask a Librarian data in research, publication or presentation, researchers are asked to acknowledge OCUL/Scholars Portal.

Two types of data are available: aggregated data, and chat-level data.

Aggregated data

Aggregated data is available in the form of reports generated by the software used for delivering the Ask a Librarian service. These reports include data for the preceding 13 month period. Site coordinators from the participating institutions are able to extract data from a large number of existing reports, and it is sometimes possible to create custom reports. Please contact your site-coordinator to discuss what reports are available.

Because report data is aggregated, it is possible that ethics review will not be required; however, researchers should check with their institution's Research Ethics Board before submitting requests for reports.

Chat-level data

Chat-level reports include all or parts of the transcripts of chat transactions and individual users’ responses to the pre- and post-chat surveys. In order to ensure the privacy of Ask a Librarian patrons and staff, chat-level data that will be released must be anonymized: each transcript or report must be reviewed to ensure that no identifying information is contained. Ask a Librarian site coordinators are the only individuals authorized to perform the anonymization. Chat-level data is available for the preceding 13 months, but no earlier than Sept 2013.

The collection and anonymization of transcript data is very time consuming, and for that reason researchers are strongly encouraged to consult with their institution’s site coordinator before requesting transcript data. Site coordinators have the right to reject requests for transcript data. Please note that there may be costs associated with anonymizing data.

Further, due to the confidential nature of the data being examined, researchers must receive REB approval for their research prior to chat-level data being released.

This policy takes effect September 1, 2013 and applies only to data collected after that date. Data collected before Sept. 1, 2013 can be used for internal review and service improvement only.

Name
Your answer
Organization
Only staff from libraries that participate in Ask a Librarian can submit data requests. Participating libaries are listed here: http://vr.scholarsportal.info/ask/
Your answer
Job Title
Your answer
Email
Your answer
Collaborators
List the names, titles, email addresses and institutional affiliations of all others who will be working with the data
Your answer
Data Type
Required
Data needed about...
Required
Detailed description of your data request
Consult the list of available reports and identify the report(s) needed by row number. Include time range and detail level needed: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Am3qDzIXlyfDdGdreS1PSkxTOVVBS25pVFQyYmpEMkE&usp=sharing
Your answer
Data needed by
Please allow several weeks, especially for multiple reports, chat-level reports and reports requiring anonymization.
Your answer
Research interest
Provide a detailed description of your research project
Your answer
Purpose of your research project
Your answer
Plan for disseminating results
Is this project undertaken for the purposes of service evaluation? Will you publish or present the results?
Your answer
Have you received approval or exemption from your institutional research ethics board for this project?
Your answer
By checking this box, my collaborators and I accept and agree to abide by the conditions laid out in Ask a Librarian's privacy and data access policies.
Required
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