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Digital Reference: What, Why, How LIS 521

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more digital resources, people need help with them. maybe you shouldn't ... name, phone number, fax, email address, preferred response method, question, ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Digital Reference: What, Why, How LIS 521


1
Digital ReferenceWhat, Why, How?LIS 521
  • Joseph Janes
  • Chair, Library and Information Science
  • The Information School
  • of the University of Washington
  • jwj_at_u.washington.edu
  • www.ischool.washington.edu/jwj/txla

2
what is reference?
  • readers in popular libraries need a great deal
    of assistancethis is particularly needed by
    persons unused to handling books or conducting
    investigations.
  • Samuel Green Library Journal 1 (1876)

3
what is reference?
  • Reference work includes the direct, personal aid
    within a library to persons in search of
    information for whatever purpose, and also
    various library activities especially aimed at
    making information as easily available as
    possible.
  • Margaret Hutchins Introduction to Reference Work
    (1944)

4
where reference has been
  • Green (1876) we do reference because theres
    too much stuff and its hard to find
  • talks about database searching (really),
    evaluating resources, BI, consumer info, advice,
    SDI, readers advisory, medical/legal disclaimers
  • be pleasant, mingle freely
  • dont make readers dependent
  • no point of view on politics, etc.

5
how did reference evolve?
  • Green 1876
  • people dont know how to search
  • improve people, make them independent
  • Ryan 1996
  • technological innovations as opportunity
  • policy, limitations, structure (what not to do)
  • communication with others

6
what is digital reference?
  • the use of digital technologies and resources to
    provide direct, professional assistance to people
    who are seeking information, wherever and
    whenever they need it

7
how is digital reference different?
  • time scale usually much longer (even with live
    services)
  • different kind and level of contact
  • greater accessibility
  • different resources
  • different users
  • different questions, motivations, situations,
    expectations
  • different interview
  • ability to capture products of the transaction

8
how is digital reference different?
  • easier to evaluate
  • possibility of different staffing models
  • greater opportunity for collaboration
  • and yetexactly the same

9
why do digital reference?
  • all those reasons
  • people/outreach/access
  • people using collections continuouslywhy no
    service?
  • publicity
  • support
  • technology
  • more digital resources, people need help with
    them
  • maybe you shouldnt

10
processes
  • asynchronous
  • question intake
  • question handling
  • The Interview (or lack thereof)

11
question intake options
  • email, simple form, detailed form
  • tradeoffs?
  • what questions do you want to ask?
  • name, phone number, fax, email address, preferred
    response method, question, motivation, sources
    tried, grade/age/level/status, need-by date,
    answer format/characteristics
  • authentication?
  • password, PIN, library card , phone number

12
question intake issues
  • interactive? (multiple forms, live)
  • what kinds of users, what kinds of questionsmay
    help determine nature of interaction
  • people get it wrong

13
question handling
  • where does it go?
  • personal email box, collective email box,
    bulletin board, other
  • who handles it?
  • 1 person, rotation by person, rotation by branch
  • on/off desk
  • forward, post, answer yourself

14
interview
  • or lack thereofmay be only a one-shot deal
  • get as much as you can v. get the question and
    hope for the best
  • less chance of dialogue implies better questions?
  • how to help them to help you to help them

15
technological options
  • chat
  • instant messaging
  • video
  • call center software
  • Web/email

16
chat
  • advantages
  • easy to use and understand (for patrons, esp.
    teens/young)
  • commonplace
  • creates a transcript
  • disadvantages
  • low bandwidth, loss of nonverbal cues
  • requires typing, lag time, no scripts
  • boredom
  • might work well in a school, YA, community college

17
instant messaging
  • advantages
  • commonplace (incl. in many organizations/corporati
    ons)
  • easy to use and understand
  • disadvantages
  • low bandwidth, loss of nonverbal cues
  • requires typing, lag time, no scripts
  • boredom (tho perhaps less of a problem here)
  • might work well in an organization widely using
    IM, etc.

18
video
  • advantages
  • higher bandwidth, nonverbal cues (better
    interview?)
  • no lag, typing
  • more personalized feel
  • disadvantages
  • , equipment, accessibility
  • no transcript (or at least not in text)
  • people dont want to be on camera
  • might work in a corporate, high-tech environment

19
call center software
  • advantages
  • designed for this kind of interaction, eval
    modules, transcripts, scripts
  • easy for user
  • push web pages
  • disadvantages
  • training
  • might work well in a cooperative environment

20
Web/email
  • advantages
  • easy to use, understand
  • commonplace, cheap
  • document delivery, transcript
  • extra time
  • evaluation
  • disadvantages
  • lag, typing
  • thin connection, interview

21
what we want
  • easy to use understand, commonplace
  • transcript
  • high bandwidth, quality of interview, make
    connection
  • no lag
  • push information (of all kinds, digital and
    otherwise)
  • evaluation
  • comfortable and affordable on both ends
  • not there yetwhat would do this?

22
evaluation
  • yes

23
evaluation
  • how?
  • derives from why youre doing it
  • what dimensions do you care about?
  • accuracy, of questions recd/answered,
    satisfaction, time to respond, kind of questions,
    kind of users, repeat users, new users, different
    from traditional users, , training needs
  • targets standards
  • may well be easier here
  • (how different from other ref approachesif at
    all)

24
other considerations
  • staff, training
  • design
  • publicity

25
staff training
  • who is to do it?
  • best person, person whose idea it was, people who
    are great on the desk/phone, people who are not
    great on the desk/phone, newest grad, tech geek,
    etc.
  • where/when?
  • on desk/off desk, 24 hrs, allocation of staff
  • training
  • on technology, on resources, on searching, on
    answering, on environment

26
design
  • attractive
  • easy to use, understand
  • sensible, consistent name

27
publicity
  • yes
  • things to think about
  • where, how much, to whom, why
  • within organization, and most effective ways
  • dont hideOK to ramp up but dont stay at the
    bottom of the ramp
  • plan for success

28
policies
  • on kinds of users
  • on kinds of questions
  • on time to answer
  • on other matters

29
policies on users
  • resident
  • member of academic community
  • card holder
  • local phone
  • part of network
  • about community/institution/collection/area/unique
    resources

30
type of question
  • brief fact v. sources/research
  • about area
  • genealogy is different
  • holdings
  • question you might ask at the reference desk of
    any public library
  • questions we can answer without further input
    from you

31
type of question
  • medical/legal/tax/advice
  • fee for service
  • no trivial question
  • up to 20 minutes of work
  • what type of question is really best for your
    environment, resources, service, etc.?
  • examples

32
time to answer
  • often fuzzy (goal, strive)
  • range from 24 hrs or less to 3-5 days
  • call us for quicker service, also give phone
  • be realistic but not wishy-washy, take into
    consideration what the service is for, patrons
    being served, kind of questions, environment,
    etc.

33
other policies to think about
  • confidentiality/privacy what happens to
    question, answer, personal/contact information
  • fees for mail, fax, licensed databases (or we
    dont do this)
  • type of resources will or wont use
  • hours/days of service (if appl.)
  • form must be completely filled out

34
resources
  • staffing training
  • how many staff?
  • what kind?
  • when?
  • training on technology, process, resources,
    answering, users, interviewing

35
resources
  • information
  • restrictions?
  • emphases? (digital, local, licensed)?
  • new?
  • document delivery
  • the role of licensed content how to get it to
    people
  • FAQs why not? very low occurrence, mainly
    policy/proceduralcould use FAQ, FARQ,
    pathfinders
  • examples

36
resources
  • budget for it
  • staff, training, hardware, software, information,
    publicity, evaluation
  • time
  • to develop, to maintain, to evaluate, to train
  • referral
  • to phone, desk, consultation, etc.

37
resources
  • resources questions best answered when you know
    what kinds of users, questions you are intending
    to serve
  • doesnt have to be for every persons every
    question
  • decide these first design service accordingly

38
is practice changing?
  • The Reference Interview, its role, and how its
    changing
  • answering questions parking people
  • time to answer (the double-edged sword)
  • recording answers, reviewing and searching them
  • different people may be good at this
  • evaluation easier (do we want to know?)
  • more questions from more peoplewill have broad
    impact

39
trends issues for the near future
  • synchronous/asynchronous
  • collaboration (QP, etc.) specialization
  • tracking status of questions
  • reference as ongoing process
  • innovation (services for palms, PCS devices,
    etc.)
  • acceptance by public, by profession
  • and
  • its not digital reference, its just
    reference

40
what is digital reference?
  • the use of digital technologies and resources to
    provide direct, professional assistance to people
    who are seeking information, wherever and
    whenever they need it

41
what is reference?
  • the provision of direct, professional assistance
    to people who are seeking information, at the
    time and point of need
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