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Article
Publication date: 1 February 2002

Lesley M. Moyo

Discusses how technological developments in libraries have led to the emergence of new service paradigms. Reference services are receiving prime attention as librarians…

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2157

Abstract

Discusses how technological developments in libraries have led to the emergence of new service paradigms. Reference services are receiving prime attention as librarians strategically position themselves to serve users who are entering the library both through the physical gateway and the electronic gateway. Recent trends in electronic libraries, with particular reference to academic libraries, point to the need to provide value‐added library services to support virtual communities in their access to, and use of the exploding body of electronic sources. Also discusses the dynamic nature of reference services in the context of rapidly changing technologies and heightened user expectations and explores the issues associated with planning virtual reference services in an academic environment. Outlines the service rationale, software and technology considerations taken by the Pennsylvania State University in planning towards on‐line, real‐time reference services and provides an overview of the planned pilot project. Includes a list of links to Web sites with useful resources as well as links to sites of some projects on virtual reference services.

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The Electronic Library, vol. 20 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0264-0473

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2001

Elkanah Kayode Erinle

Reference services have existed in public libraries for over 100 years but the level of collections and services differs from one type of library to another. Examines the…

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794

Abstract

Reference services have existed in public libraries for over 100 years but the level of collections and services differs from one type of library to another. Examines the organisation of reference activities at the Kwara State Public Library. Specifically investigates the status of the reference staff, organization of the collection, up‐to‐dateness, and categories of user. The study shows that inadequate funds are a major problem, while lack of professional staff at the reference library is also experienced. As a result the reference collection is becoming obsolete and unable to grow. Suggests steps the library could take to improve the situation.

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Library Review, vol. 50 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0024-2535

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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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2305

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: 16 February 2010

Marta Lee, Jon Ritterbush and Robert Sivigny

This paper aims to examine whether relocating the reference desk closer to the main entrance has factored into increased reference activity at Regent University Library.

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2059

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine whether relocating the reference desk closer to the main entrance has factored into increased reference activity at Regent University Library.

Design/methodology/approach

Statistics from 1992/1993 through 2007/2008 were examined to see whether gate counts and questions asked went up, down or remained steady.

Findings

Technology changes and user expectations have affected reference service at Regent University Library. Even though the number of patrons coming to the library has declined, the number of questions being asked through e‐mail and the telephone has risen slightly. Librarians have also seen an increase in students making appointments for extended assistance.

Research limitations/implications

This case study examines the decline in gate counts and reference activity at one academic library during a period of enrollment growth. Changes to the layout and location of the reference desk resulted in an increase of in‐person reference transactions.

Practical implications

Evaluation of usage statistics documents the strong correlation between library visits and reference transactions. Both of these figures have dropped significantly during the past decade, and only recently have shown increases. Following the relocation of the reference desk, the library recorded increases in total reference questions and in‐person questions. There has been an increase in the proportion of questions received in‐person at the new location.

Originality/value

A case study covers the changing role of the reference desk at one academic library from a separate, free standing desk to a consolidated information commons model. Each stage in the development is discussed, with analysis of the impact on reference question activity and the effect of close proximity to the front door of the library.

Details

Reference Services Review, vol. 38 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0090-7324

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2003

Jo Bell Whitlatch

Three possible scenarios for the future of reference services are described: outsourcing, the Web, and knowledge counseling. The ability to design reference services that…

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2467

Abstract

Three possible scenarios for the future of reference services are described: outsourcing, the Web, and knowledge counseling. The ability to design reference services that users will continue to value in libraries of the future is limited by current professional reference practices. These limits are related to the failure to incorporate total quality management (TQM) principles into the design and practice of present day reference services. The following TQM principles are utilized to discuss the contrasts between TQM principles and current reference practices: focus on the customer, quality work the first time, strategic holistic approach to improvement, continuous improvement as a way of life, and mutual respect and teamwork. Finally, the roles that library organizations must fulfill to change the current professional culture are described.

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Reference Services Review, vol. 31 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0090-7324

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 2000

Kaba Abdoulaye and Shaheen Majid

The integration of the Internet has affected all functions of the library, particularly reference services. In the reference department, this integration has led to the…

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3821

Abstract

The integration of the Internet has affected all functions of the library, particularly reference services. In the reference department, this integration has led to the utilisation of new tools and methods for providing information to library users. This study investigates the effect of the Internet on reference services in Malaysian academic libraries. The objective of the study was to find out how the integration of the Internet has affected reference professionals and services. The study also investigated respondents’ perceptions of the importance of the Internet in reference work. A total of 40 library professionals working in the reference department of nine Malaysian academic libraries participated in the study. Respondents felt that the Internet has contributed positively to reference work and has enhanced their effectiveness and efficiency. However, a majority of them disagreed that the Internet should completely replace traditional reference tools. Respondents also felt that reference librarians should possess good computing and Internet use skills for providing effective reference services.

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Online Information Review, vol. 24 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1468-4527

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 2006

Karen K. Hein

The purpose of this article is to provide a perspective on the role of public computing in the daily operations of reference services at an academic library.

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1017

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this article is to provide a perspective on the role of public computing in the daily operations of reference services at an academic library.

Design/methodology/approach

An overview of approaches to managing and supporting public computing workstations in academic libraries, in general, is provided. Specific aspects of operations at the University of Nebraska at Omaha Library are presented.

Findings

Challenges and opportunities associated with reference's role in providing support for technology are identified.

Practical implications

Other academic libraries may find this helpful as they consider the management and support required when providing public computing workstations to patrons.

Originality/value

This paper provides a public service perspective on managing technology in an academic library. Specifically, an alternative approach to other management models is highlighted using the University of Nebraska at Omaha Library as an example.

Details

Reference Services Review, vol. 34 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0090-7324

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Abstract

Details

Understanding Reference Transactions: Transforming an Art into a Science
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-12587-780-0

Abstract

Details

Advances in Librarianship
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-12024-618-2

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Book part
Publication date: 21 November 2005

Gloria J. Leckie and Lisa M. Given

The history of the public library is long and rich, and continues to reflect this institution's initial mission: to respond to the needs of an evolving democratic society…

Abstract

The history of the public library is long and rich, and continues to reflect this institution's initial mission: to respond to the needs of an evolving democratic society. From its early days as a subscription service for the middle-class, through its evolution to become an educational site for the lower-classes and new immigrants, the public library has served as a touch-stone for urban industrial society in North America (Lerner, 1998, p. 138; Shera, 1974). Over the past century, public libraries have evolved to respond to the growing needs of the communities they serve and continue to do so with recent advances in technologies (such as DVDs, electronic books, the Internet, etc.), and with a more global outlook on the ways that people seek and share information. Indeed, the public library's constituents today are exceedingly diverse, including children and adults from a broad range of socio-economic, cultural, and educational backgrounds, all of whom seek information for a variety of personal and work-related purposes. The fact that public libraries have been fulfilling patrons' information needs for well over a century is a testament to their enduring success and versatility as information providers, and also points to the overall effectiveness of public librarians as intermediaries in the provision process.

Details

Advances in Librarianship
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-12024-629-8

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