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Article
Publication date: 8 February 2021

Idunn Bøyum, Katriina Byström and Nils Pharo

The purpose of this study is to investigate why users turn to the university library’s reference desk and whether librarians make use of the opportunity to conduct…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to investigate why users turn to the university library’s reference desk and whether librarians make use of the opportunity to conduct reference interviews to disclose any unexpressed information needs.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper presents the results from a qualitative exploration study where interactions between librarians and users were observed in authentic situations at the reference desk and analyzed using a modified version of Radford and Connaway’s (2013) categorization of inquiries.

Findings

Most inquiries were seemingly easy to answer and pertained to collections and procedures in the library. Lending out desk supplies accounted for a high proportion of the activity. Only a small number of requests were subject-oriented and reference interview techniques were only used in 5% of the recorded inquiries. This means that the users’ information needs were not probed in the vast majority of the interactions.

Research limitations/implications

The study is exploratory and mirrors the activity that takes place in one specific library. The low number of reference interview techniques used may indicate a lack of interest in users’ information needs, which signifies a risk of the reference desk being reduced to an arena for instrumental and superficial interaction between librarians and users.

Originality/value

This study illustrates current developments in work at a physical library desk. Few recent studies address face-to-face interactions between librarians and users.

Details

Reference Services Review, vol. 49 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0090-7324

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 5 August 2014

Ebikabowei Emmanuel Baro, Bueaty U. Efe and Gboyega K. Oyeniran

– This study aims to investigate the different channels reference librarians receive reference inquiries from patrons in university libraries in Nigeria.

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to investigate the different channels reference librarians receive reference inquiries from patrons in university libraries in Nigeria.

Design/methodology/approach

A questionnaire was used to collect data on the various channels through which reference librarians received reference inquiries in Nigerian university libraries. The questionnaire was administered using an online method.

Findings

It emerged that the face-to-face traditional reference desk was rated as the highest channel through which librarians receive reference inquiries in Nigeria, followed by library Facebook page and phone/short message service (SMS). Instant messaging (IM) and e-mail were identified as the least used channels by the patrons. The challenges mentioned include the absence of policy statements concerning virtual reference services; the lack of information and communications technology (ICT) skills on the part of librarians; slow Internet connectivity; power failures; management’s lack of support for emerging technologies; IM’s limitations; user’s expectations of instant answer; inarticulate requests; and lack of adequate current reference materials.

Research limitations/implications

The findings are from a small sample size; therefore, the findings may not be substantial enough to generalize. Further study is necessary to determine if these results are consistent throughout other university libraries in Nigeria.

Originality/value

The findings will inform university libraries in developing countries that are planning to adopt virtual reference services to deliver reference services to users anywhere, anytime.

Details

Reference Services Review, vol. 42 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0090-7324

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 1976

The Howard Shuttering Contractors case throws considerable light on the importance which the tribunals attach to warnings before dismissing an employee. In this case the…

Abstract

The Howard Shuttering Contractors case throws considerable light on the importance which the tribunals attach to warnings before dismissing an employee. In this case the tribunal took great pains to interpret the intention of the parties to the different site agreements, and it came to the conclusion that the agreed procedure was not followed. One other matter, which must be particularly noted by employers, is that where a final warning is required, this final warning must be “a warning”, and not the actual dismissal. So that where, for example, three warnings are to be given, the third must be a “warning”. It is after the employee has misconducted himself thereafter that the employer may dismiss.

Details

Managerial Law, vol. 19 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0558

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Article
Publication date: 7 August 2007

Catherine M. Robinson and Peter Reid

The purpose of this paper is to clarify the ways in which students seek help in libraries, and their feelings about using library enquiry services. In this way, it should…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to clarify the ways in which students seek help in libraries, and their feelings about using library enquiry services. In this way, it should bring practical benefits to academic libraries seeking to design and introduce new forms of reference service. The paper also aims to touch on the issue of whether anonymity offered by digital reference services is likely to make more students ask for help. A major aim of this study is to find ways to encourage those students who need help, to seek it.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper uses the results taken from 12 qualitative interviews with undergraduate students to examine these students' help‐seeking methods and their use of academic library reference services.

Findings

The study finds that the reasons for not using enquiry services were various and complex and included a lack of awareness of services, embarrassment or shyness, anxiety caused by mechanical barriers and affective barriers. The interviews revealed that shyness is more widespread than libraries might imagine and seemingly confident students can find asking for help embarrassing in some circumstances.

Originality/value

This paper focuses on students' thoughts and opinions, and it is this student‐centred approach which gives particular insight into the reasons students do not seek help. This adds to the body of qualitative research examining undergraduates' help seeking methods and provides practical advice for encouraging students to ask for help.

Details

Reference Services Review, vol. 35 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0090-7324

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 1995

Michael C. Head, Rita Marcella and Judith M. Smith

Reports on a further study using unobtrusive testing of publiclibrary reference services in Scotland by undergraduates at RobertGordon University. For this survey, a…

Abstract

Reports on a further study using unobtrusive testing of public library reference services in Scotland by undergraduates at Robert Gordon University. For this survey, a specific item of business information on a well‐known Scottish company was requested at various public libraries. Discusses the results of the survey under the headings of: physical location and setting of the issue desk; staff attitude; response to the enquiry; reference interview; search strategy and execution; advice/ information offered; and assessment of the quality of information provided.

Details

Library Review, vol. 44 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0024-2535

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 1988

Marcus Woolley

Developing a library while developing oneself is both an enviable and an alarming experience. This case study is valuable for two reasons: first because it is a uniquely…

Abstract

Developing a library while developing oneself is both an enviable and an alarming experience. This case study is valuable for two reasons: first because it is a uniquely realistic blow‐by‐blow description of the upgrading of a poorly organised, under‐resourced, industrial library. As such, it contains useful practical guidance for the many librarians who have similar problems to contend with. Second, and perhaps even more important, because so rare, is the critical and evaluative attitude taken throughout the report. The author identifies his own mistakes, as well as his successes. The report covers the adoption of new information retrieval systems; the devising of a new issue system for a split‐site library; developing periodicals circulation; evaluation of collection use and relevance; proposing the introduction of on‐line services — against a background of financial stringency and entrenched bureaucracy. The author also evaluates his own performance and the training he received, in his first year of running a one‐person library.

Details

Library Management, vol. 9 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-5124

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 August 1996

Sid Kessler and Gill Palmer

Examines the history of the Commission on Industrial Relations (CIR) 1969‐74 ‐ its origins, organization and policies ‐ and then evaluates its contribution as an agent of…

Abstract

Examines the history of the Commission on Industrial Relations (CIR) 1969‐74 ‐ its origins, organization and policies ‐ and then evaluates its contribution as an agent of reform in the context of the perceived problems of the 1960s and 1970s. Considers whether there are any lessons to be learnt for the future given the possibility of a Labour Government, developments in Europe and the 1995 TUC policy document Your Voice at Work. Despite the drastic changes in industrial relations and in the economic, political and social environment, the answer is in the affirmative. In particular, the importance of a new third‐party agency having an independent governing body like the CIR and not a representative body like the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS); in its workflow not being controlled by government; and in its decisions on recognition being legally enforceable.

Details

Employee Relations, vol. 18 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0142-5455

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 September 1969

THE National Reference Library of Science and Invention may be said to be devoted to three R's— reference, research and referral. The purpose of this article is to…

Abstract

THE National Reference Library of Science and Invention may be said to be devoted to three R's— reference, research and referral. The purpose of this article is to illustrate this theme, with a picture of the services and activi‐ties of the Library, and to indicate when it can be of help to other libraries. However, it is necessary first to outline briefly the origins and present stage of development of the Library, for despite the amount of publicity it has had, the NRLSI remains relatively little known or little understood compared with the other library departments of the British Museum.

Details

New Library World, vol. 71 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0307-4803

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Article
Publication date: 1 May 1989

Bob Duckett

Excellence at reference and enquiry work is not just a matter ofstaff training, but of selecting the right staff. One quality needed isgeneral knowledge. The nature of…

Abstract

Excellence at reference and enquiry work is not just a matter of staff training, but of selecting the right staff. One quality needed is general knowledge. The nature of this quality is considered and moves are outlined to build general knowledge testing into the selection procedures for reference library staff at Bradford.

Details

Library Review, vol. 38 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0024-2535

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 12 October 2015

Richard E. Shope and William F. McComas

In this chapter, we discuss ways to create optimal conditions that enable K-12 learners to experience and practice science by engaging in inquiry as an essential practice…

Abstract

In this chapter, we discuss ways to create optimal conditions that enable K-12 learners to experience and practice science by engaging in inquiry as an essential practice in EcoVoices, an urban environmental education program based in Los Angeles. We do this through the synergistic contributions of McComas, a science education theorist who developed the ED3U instructional model; and Shope, a science education innovator who has applied, modified, and validated the model in real-world learning settings. The essential premise behind this shared work is that the more opportunity students have to practice doing science, the more authentic their science learning experience will be. And inquiry, as a science process, is one of the most important elements in the practice of science.

Details

Inquiry-Based Learning for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (Stem) Programs: A Conceptual and Practical Resource for Educators
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-850-2

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