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Article
Publication date: 1 April 1995

Peter Wei He and Michael Knee

The evolution of technology in libraries is causing more technically oriented professionals to join the library profession. Having an electronic services librarian has…

Abstract

The evolution of technology in libraries is causing more technically oriented professionals to join the library profession. Having an electronic services librarian has become a hallmark of the electronic age. Many imaginative but similar job titles appear in library employment advertisements: “Network Services Librarian,” “Reference and Electronic Information Services Librarian,” “Electronic Information and Multimedia Librarian,” “Information Integrator.” Why is this new field in librarianship so popular? What are the requirements to be an “electronic services librarian?” What will their future be like? Is this new professional the answer to all new library technology developments? This article examines these questions and explores the problems in this emerging position by analyzing the experience of one academic library.

Details

Reference Services Review, vol. 23 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0090-7324

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 2005

Janet Murray and Cindy Tschernitz

This paper seeks to examine the impact of greater access to electronic information, both free and fee‐based, on reference enquiries.

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2303

Abstract

Purpose

This paper seeks to examine the impact of greater access to electronic information, both free and fee‐based, on reference enquiries.

Design/methodology/approach

The research methodology included an extensive literature review and interviews with reference services librarians both in Australia and overseas.

Findings

The assumption that greater internet access and use equal a decline in public and state library reference enquiries is not proven.

Originality/value

The paper concludes with a summary of trends, predictions and scenarios of usage of state and public library reference services in an increasingly electronic age, paying special attention and emphasis to the Australian environment.

Details

Online Information Review, vol. 29 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1468-4527

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Article
Publication date: 31 May 2019

M. Elena Gómez-Cruz

An evaluation of libraries and their overall quality should consider the quality of the services they provide. Satisfaction in terms of the service provided is indicative…

Abstract

Purpose

An evaluation of libraries and their overall quality should consider the quality of the services they provide. Satisfaction in terms of the service provided is indicative of the quality of reference services and since these services are expensive, evaluation is therefore essential. This paper aims to outline the development of a structural equations model to evaluate service quality and user satisfaction with regard to the electronic reference service provided by Francisco Xavier Clavigero Library belongs to the Iberoamericana University, located in Mexico City.

Design/methodology/approach

This model suggests that service quality can be explained by way of the five dimensions of the SERVQUAL methodology, (reliability, assurance, tangibles, empathy and responsiveness) and in turn, quality explains both user satisfaction and the value of the service to its patrons. Finally, this model suggests that a positive increase in user satisfaction leads to a lineal and positive increase in user loyalty. The evaluation considered 297 users who made at least one electronic reference request during 2014.

Findings

The adjustment of the structural model reveals that the latent variables that explain quality are reliability and responsiveness, and that quality explains satisfaction, which in turn explains user loyalty.

Originality

The generation of an indicator to evaluate the reference services enables identification of its strengths and weaknesses to offer a more efficient service, considering that it represents a significant percentage of the library’s financial and human resources.

Details

Reference Services Review, vol. 47 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0090-7324

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 1995

Jackie Mardikian and Martin Kesselman

The changing reference environment and reference staffing have been the topic of several articles in the library literature, discussions at the American Library…

Abstract

The changing reference environment and reference staffing have been the topic of several articles in the library literature, discussions at the American Library Association conferences and a recent conference offered twice by Library Solutions Inc. of Berkeley, California, entitled Rethinking Reference. Libraries are looking closely at the model at Brandeis University of eliminating the reference desk and replacing it with an information desk with research consultations with librarians taking place in an office. Larry Oberg urges librarians to stop thinking of the reference desk as a key reason for being a librarian. He contends that paraprofessionals can and do perform well at a reference desk, freeing librarians to concentrate on higher‐level tasks. These discussions and examples demonstrate a variety of solutions academic libraries have taken regarding the changing face of reference, and the evolving roles of reference librarians in moving towards the electronic library. The electronic library brings us new options and new opportunities and as a result librarians need to develop new ways of thinking and organizing reference services.

Details

Reference Services Review, vol. 23 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0090-7324

Abstract

Details

Advances in Librarianship
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-876-6

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 2004

Bruce Stoffel and Toni Tucker

In fall 2002, Illinois State University librarians surveyed their e‐mail and chat reference patrons to determine how they feel about the services and how the services

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2695

Abstract

In fall 2002, Illinois State University librarians surveyed their e‐mail and chat reference patrons to determine how they feel about the services and how the services might be improved. The survey also attempted to identify the extent to which the services are used in conjunction with more traditional reference venues. While most electronic reference services utilize brief “pop‐up” forms to survey patrons, Illinois State patrons were invited via e‐mail to complete a more extensive online survey form. Approximately 400 patrons were surveyed, and a response rate of 17 percent was achieved. Results indicate a high level of satisfaction with electronic reference, the desirability of retaining both services despite the more immediate need of chat, and the need to cross‐market reference services. Survey participation suggests that use of e‐mail and online forms to survey electronic reference patrons may be effective in the case of e‐mail reference, but not chat.

Details

Reference Services Review, vol. 32 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0090-7324

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Article
Publication date: 14 August 2007

Ann Ritchie and Paul Genoni

The purpose of this paper is to explore the evolving balance between the use of print and electronic sources for answering reference questions.

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2409

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the evolving balance between the use of print and electronic sources for answering reference questions.

Design/methodology/approach

A review of the international literature from the mid‐1990s is conducted. A case study of reference questions received at the Northern Territory Library is undertaken, by auditing data held in the online reference information management system, RefTracker. Over 620 questions are categorised according to the sources used in responding to those questions.

Findings

Results indicate that print and electronic sources are both important to the reference service at the Northern Territory Library.

Research limitations/implications

There is great difficulty in assessing what constitutes a “correct” balance between print and electronic sources for responding to reference questions, and the current practice is likely to differ significantly between libraries. The results of the study are discussed in terms of their implications for the future of reference services and the education and training needs of reference librarians.

Originality/value

From the results of this study, coupled with data gathered from the review of international literature, it is possible to identify trends and issues influencing reference services and collections.

Details

The Electronic Library, vol. 25 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0264-0473

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 1996

Hannelore B. Rader

The following is an annotated list of materials dealing with information literacy including instruction in the use of information resources, research, and computer skills…

Abstract

The following is an annotated list of materials dealing with information literacy including instruction in the use of information resources, research, and computer skills related to retrieving, using, and evaluating information. This review, the twenty‐second to be published in Reference Services Review, includes items in English published in 1995. After 21 years, the title of this review of the literature has been changed from “Library Orientation and Instruction” to “Library Instruction and Information Literacy,” to indicate the growing trend of moving to information skills instruction.

Details

Reference Services Review, vol. 24 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0090-7324

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2005

Margaret Jay and Sheila Webber

Aims to investigate the impact of the internet on reference services in public libraries in England.

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3279

Abstract

Purpose

Aims to investigate the impact of the internet on reference services in public libraries in England.

Design/methodology/approach

A literature review provides the policy context for UK public library services and highlights developments in digital reference. A questionnaire was administered in 2003 to a sample of the public library authorities in England, investigating the use of the internet for receiving or answering reference enquiries, the use of electronic reference sources, and the nature of public library web sites.

Findings

Thirty responses were received, representing a response rate of 60 per cent. All respondents used e‐mail to answer reference enquiries, but there was low use (and in some cases awareness) of other technologies. The librarians' attitude towards digital reference services, considering aspects such as improved access and increased efficiency, was predominantly positive. Some concerns were raised, such as the administration of public access computers. Patrons could access more electronic reference sources within the library than they could remotely. The majority of public libraries had web sites, most commonly offering access to the library catalogue and community databases. The results of this study are compared with two previous surveys.

Practical implications

The paper concludes by identifying the need for public library managers to assess the changing role of professionals and para‐professionals in delivering reference services, and to provide appropriate training. It also notes that despite the discussion of real‐time reference, asynchronous digital reference is still more common in England.

Originality/value

There has not been a survey of this type for English public library authorities. The sample represents 20 per cent of the target population.

Details

Program, vol. 39 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0033-0337

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 1995

Theodore J. Hull

The Center for Electronic Records of the National Archives and Records Administration was established in 1988 as the custodial unit for the permanent electronic records of…

Abstract

The Center for Electronic Records of the National Archives and Records Administration was established in 1988 as the custodial unit for the permanent electronic records of the U.S. federal government. The program for the long‐term preservation of electronic (or machine‐readable) records by the National Archives goes back to 1968, and the acting archivist of the United States has recently acknowledged the thirtieth anniversary of the first formal appraisal of electronic records. This article will highlight both the Center for Electronic Records' program and the various levels of access to information about the records in its custody.

Details

Reference Services Review, vol. 23 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0090-7324

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