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Article
Publication date: 19 September 2019

Robin Canuel, Sandy Hervieux, Veronica Bergsten, Amélie Brault and Rachelle Burke

The purpose of this paper is to formally assess the training program received by information studies graduate students and the reference services they provided at a…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to formally assess the training program received by information studies graduate students and the reference services they provided at a research-intensive university.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative content analysis was used to evaluate if graduate students incorporated the training they received in their provision of reference services. The students’ virtual reference transcripts were coded to identify the level of questions asked, if a reference interview occurred and if different teaching methods were used by the students in their interactions. The in-person reference transactions recorded by the students were coded for the level of questions asked.

Findings

The main findings demonstrate a low frequency of reference interviews in chat interactions with a presence in only 23 per cent of instances while showing that instructional methods are highly used by graduate student reference assistants and are present in 66 per cent of chat conversations.

Originality/value

This study is of interest to academic libraries who wish to partner with information studies programs and schools to offer graduate students valuable work experience. It aims to show the value that graduate students can bring to reference services. Furthermore, it highlights the importance of continuously developing training programs and assessing the performance of graduate students working in these roles.

Details

Reference Services Review, vol. 47 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0090-7324

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 26 July 2021

Sandy Hervieux

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the impact of the pandemic on the questions received via chat reference at a Canadian university library.

1016

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the impact of the pandemic on the questions received via chat reference at a Canadian university library.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative analysis using coding of chat transcripts and a quantitative analysis of the length of chat interactions were used in this study.

Findings

The author determined that the types of questions received changed slightly during the pandemic due to the new library services offered. The complexity level of questions did not change significantly nor did the presence of instruction. The length of individual chat interactions and the total amount of time spent on chat increased, most likely due to the extended hours of the service and the number of patron questions present in one interaction.

Originality/value

This is the first study to investigate the potential impact of the pandemic on virtual reference services at a university library. The findings could lead to practical implications for libraries who need to close their in-person reference desk or need to respond to building closures.

Details

Reference Services Review, vol. 49 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0090-7324

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 30 October 2018

Sandy Hervieux and Nikki Tummon

This study aims to evaluate the instances of information literacy instruction within the virtual reference system of a Canadian university library.

1551

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to evaluate the instances of information literacy instruction within the virtual reference system of a Canadian university library.

Design/methodology/approach

Coding and analysis of a sample of chat transcripts over the course of one academic year have been used.

Findings

The analysis indicated that over 50 per cent of virtual reference interactions do not lend themselves to information literacy instruction. An average of 23.6 per cent of interactions included information literacy instruction and the preferred methods of instruction were modelling and resource sharing.

Originality/value

While previous studies have focused on information literacy instruction provided in a virtual reference setting, this study aims to identify not only instances of information literacy but also to better understand the nature of chat queries by codifying instances of a transactional nature. The results could lead to improved best practices for chat reference, enhanced staff training and varied promotion and delivery of not just virtual reference services but of other library services as well. A portion of this research project, including partial results for the Fall semester, was presented at the LILAC Conference in Liverpool in April 2018.

Details

Reference Services Review, vol. 46 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0090-7324

Keywords

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