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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2003

Louise Kloss and Yin Zhang

This case study evaluated a real‐time online interactive reference service. Three data gathering methods were used. First, general usage statistics were generated…

Abstract

This case study evaluated a real‐time online interactive reference service. Three data gathering methods were used. First, general usage statistics were generated electronically from the service provider. Second, patron evaluations were collected electronically. Third, questionnaires were mailed to the librarians who provided the service. The general usage statistics revealed an overall pattern of growth in the number of participating libraries, the number of patrons, the number of questions and the total time spent answering them in minutes. Patron evaluations of the service were positive, most of the patrons' questions were answered. They all liked the service and intended to use it again. The librarians' responses were also positive. Most of the librarians were able to find quality Internet Web sites containing the answers to their patrons' questions and when they could not, they often found the answers in a print resource. This finding suggested that regardless of the setting, print resources still had an important role to play in the provision of reference service.

Details

The Electronic Library, vol. 21 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0264-0473

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Article
Publication date: 14 August 2009

Iraj Moradi and Nadjla Hariri

Considering the significant difference between the discipline reference librarians graduate in and how reference services are offered, this paper aims to test such a…

Abstract

Purpose

Considering the significant difference between the discipline reference librarians graduate in and how reference services are offered, this paper aims to test such a hypothesis by focusing on reference services offered by central libraries of Islamic Azad Universities (IAU) distributed in different regions and provinces of Iran. A second purpose of this paper is to suggest an independent organizational structure for reference departments of Iranian academic libraries.

Design/methodology/approach

Research population is composed of 75 reference librarians working in central libraries of 33 IAU branches. To collect data a researcher‐made questionnaire including 82 items is posted to mentioned libraries.

Findings

There is a significant difference between reference librarians' discipline and how reference services are offered in IAU central libraries.

Practical implications

Iranian academic authorities are advised to take the suggested organizational structure into consideration and meet Lewis's five strategies. In particular, reference librarians based on their discipline and education level should be brought together and not isolated in small departments. Additionally, for reference services to keep pace with users' needs academic libraries should employ expert and skilled reference librarians who hold library and information science academic degrees and can provide user education.

Originality/value

This paper describes an organizational structure for Iranian reference librarians that is based on their educational background and training.

Details

Reference Services Review, vol. 37 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0090-7324

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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…

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.

Details

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

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Article
Publication date: 18 May 2010

Lili Luo and Lori Bell

This study seeks to identify the benefits, challenges and effective methods of implementing and managing a collaborative text reference service.

Abstract

Purpose

This study seeks to identify the benefits, challenges and effective methods of implementing and managing a collaborative text reference service.

Design/methodology/approach

The study employs the case study approach to examine the practice of the first nation‐wide collaborative text reference service My Info Quest and evaluate the effectiveness of the organization and operation of this collaboration.

Findings

Findings of the study indicate that librarians participating in My Info Quest are generally satisfied with the service organization and operation. However, more work is needed in the area of schedule accountability, communication and sustainability.

Originality/value

My Info Quest is the first collaborative text reference service in the nation. Through the detailed depiction and evaluation of My Info Quest's experience, the paper can help interested libraries to gain a better understanding of how to establish a collaborative text reference service and what challenges they will be facing.

Details

Reference Services Review, vol. 38 no. 2
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.

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: 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…

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.

Details

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

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Article
Publication date: 13 February 2009

Gang (Gary) Wan, Dennis Clark, John Fullerton, Gail Macmillan, Deva E. Reddy, Jane Stephens and Daniel Xiao

The purpose of this study is to investigate the use of co‐browse in live chat, customers' question types, referral to subject experts, and patrons' usage patterns as…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to investigate the use of co‐browse in live chat, customers' question types, referral to subject experts, and patrons' usage patterns as experienced in the virtual reference (VR) chat reference services at Texas A&M University Libraries.

Design/methodology/approach

Chat transcripts from 2005 to 2007 were sampled and analyzed by peer reviewers. Statistical data in that period were also examined. A set of methods and a pilot study were created to define the measurement components such as question types, expert handling, and co‐browsing.

Findings

Co‐browsing is used in 38 percent of the sampled chat sessions. The Texas A&M University live chat service group considers co‐browsing a useful feature. Of questions received on VR, 84 percent are reference questions. Only 8.7 percent of the total questions or 10 percent of the reference questions need to be answered by subject experts. The use of VR increases dramatically in the past two years at the Texas A&M University. The findings also reveal users' logon patterns over weekdays and weekends.

Originality/value

The study contributes and advances understanding in the role VR plays in a large academic library and the role co‐browsing plays in VR services. The study also provides a comprehensive method for transcript and usage data analysis. It is believed that a similar methodology may be replicated elsewhere by other institutions engaging similar services or evaluation.

Details

Reference Services Review, vol. 37 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0090-7324

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 1999

Emma L. Delaney

November 1998 marked the beginning of a new Reference Services function for SmithKline Beecham (SB) Pharmaceuticals Research and Development (R&D) Library Services Group…

Abstract

November 1998 marked the beginning of a new Reference Services function for SmithKline Beecham (SB) Pharmaceuticals Research and Development (R&D) Library Services Group. After a number of years of excellent but inconsistent service at the multiple site libraries within SB R&D, and no formal reference service available at many of those sites, a period of planning and training has resulted in the ability to provide a consistent, transnational service to all customer groups within R&D, improve access to Reference Services and also provide a measured and timely service. Reference Services has striven to make the best use of Web resources that are available through the Internet and intranet, including using external Web sites to answer enquiries and also creating our own Web pages in order to facilitate access to resources.

Details

The Electronic Library, vol. 17 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0264-0473

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 1985

Janet Easley

It is the implicit policy of most reference departments to serve the public as fully as time and money permit. Yet, since libraries vary in the quality and number of…

Abstract

It is the implicit policy of most reference departments to serve the public as fully as time and money permit. Yet, since libraries vary in the quality and number of reference services they provide, patrons and new employees welcome formal statements of departmental priorities and procedures. Janet Easley presents five reasons for developing a reference service policy.

Details

Reference Services Review, vol. 13 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0090-7324

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Book part
Publication date: 20 July 2005

Lilia Pavlovsky

It has been suggested that “space and artifacts constitute systems of communication which organizations build up within themselves” (Gagliardi, 1992a, b, p. vi) and…

Abstract

It has been suggested that “space and artifacts constitute systems of communication which organizations build up within themselves” (Gagliardi, 1992a, b, p. vi) and reflect the cultural life within that organization. This is a study of how the “landscape” of a public library (“Library X”), as an information retrieval system, relates to the values of the people who created it. The efforts here are geared towards understanding the physical instantiation of institutional culture and, more specifically, institutional values as they are reflected through the artifact.

Details

Advances in Library Administration and Organization
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-338-9

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