Referred to Specialist

How to enter a referral into Desk Tracker.

Referred To Field


General Guidelines

A referral occurs when the person delivering reference services decides to direct the patron elsewhere for help which is either more in-depth or subject-specific. Part of the charges of the Reference NSM involves analyzing the effectiveness of referrals, so it is important to track how often they occur and who is referring what types of questions to whom.

There are many easy tip-offs which can tell you if an interaction involves a referral or not. Did you forward a non-trivial email inquiry to another librarian? Did you forward a phone call involving a complex or subject-specific question to another librarian? Did you direct the patron to another librarian's office or call a librarian so that they could come guide the patron? Did you forward a chat in IM Collaborator to someone else with subject knowledge? If the answer to any of these questions is "Yes", then chances are you just made a referral.

There is no need to record referrals which are of a directional or informational nature, such as phone calls consisting of "can you transfer me to the billing office" or in person interactions wherein the patron asks for directions to a particular library or librarian's office. However, if a referral interaction is short—perhaps only a minute in duration—but possibly leads to an extended interaction with a second librarian, you should enter the referral into Desk Tracker. For instance, a Music History PhD student looking for primary sources for a dissertation calls and you immediately transfer the call to the Music & Performing Arts Library, you would enter "Phone Information/Directional" from the drop-down menu, but fill "MUX" (see below for more on abbreviations) in the Referred to Specialist: field because, though your end of the interaction was trivial, it presumably lead to some sophisticated research assistance.

Department Abbreviations

In the Referred to Specialist: text box, put the three-letter abbreviation which represents the library receiving the referral in all caps text. You can find these abbreviations by navigating to the library's website and looking at the last directory enclosed in forward slashes. For instance, if you receive an email about the philosophy behind the Dewey Decimal System, rather than putting the name of the individual Library & Information Science librarian to whom you forwarded the email, put "LSX" because the URL for the Virtual Library & Information Science Library is (note the last three letters of the internet address).

If you make a referral which goes to a specific party but nonetheless not to a specific library, then enter the full name (first name then last name) of the individual to whom you referred the inquiry. The one exception to this is questions involving knowledge of government information; rather than put the name of the specific librarian, put "Gov Docs" in the Referred to Specialist: field.