Documentation and Tools for the Desk Tracker Software
This web page consists of resources to assist University of Illinois libraries in the use of their Desk TrackerTM online software. Desk Tracker can be used to collect data on the nature and duration of reference interactions, gate and head counts, as well as any customized field which a library wishes to develop such as "Technology-Related Reference," a field developed by the Undergraduate Library. To enable cross-comparisons across libraries and ensure that the same field is being applied in the same manner throughout the University Library, the Library Assessment Committee has worked to develop standardization documents for each Desk Tracker field. Further, we have also developed a few Microsoft Excel programs earlier that make manipulating and analyzing Desk Tracker data easier.
Most of the files on this page are in a state of ongoing development. Any and all feedback is welcome; please send comments and inquiries to Assessment.
Desk TrackerTM Documentation
Training and Getting Started
- READ Scale Description and Examples
- Desk Tracker Link Troubles (Word) - document explaining how to make Desk Tracker field names into hyperlinks, and how to troubleshoot problems which may arise.
Desk TrackerTM Tools
One major limitation of Desk Tracker is the inability to export the charts created within the program itself; what's more, the raw data exported via the "Data File Generator" tool under the Reports pane comes in a cluttered and inflexible format. The two macros listed below are programs which run in Microsoft Excel and aim to make the processing, analysis, and graphing of Desk Tracker data a simpler and more intuitive task. Both macros have not received wide usage and may contain errors; if you experience problems and cannot resolve them with the guidelines provided here, please contact phettep1[at]illinois[d0t]edu. The macros handle reference interactions by mode of communication, duration, and time of day, as well as gate counts, but not necessarily any customized fields which libraries may be using.
- The manual for the Desk TrackerTM Excel Macro (Word I Open Office). Please read before attempting to use the Excel macro.
- The Desk Tracker Macro (Excel). This program sums the number of reference interactions which were recorded in Desk Tracker in any of the four major modes of communication (In Person, IM/Chat, Phone, and Email), totaling the results by either hour, day, weekday, or month. [Updated 3-19-2011: new option to compile data by day of the week added]
- The manual for the second Desk TrackerTM Macro (Word | Open Office). Please read before attempting to use the second Excel macro.
- The second version of the Desk Tracker Macro (Excel). This macro is different in that, instead of summing up the reference interactions in each category (as in, "In Person Reference 5-15 Minutes") it converts each interaction into an average number of minutes and then sums the number of approximate minutes of reference, by mode of communication, in each hour. Under its conversion, "In Person Reference 5-15 Minutes" is translated into 10 minutes of In Person reference. The macro also has a built-in graphing feature which automatically generates Excel graphs of each mode of communication.
- The manual for the Gate Count Excel Macro (Word | Open Office). Please read before attempting to use the Gate Count macro.
- The Gate Count Excel Macro (Excel). This program takes a single library's flat-format Desk Tracker report and outputs traffic figures based on all gate counts which were entered into Desk Tracker. Special features include highlighting potential data entry errors in red font as well as autofilters for the month, weekday, and hour of day. You can use this to analyze which time periods are busiest in terms of space usage.