RUSA MARS/RSS Virtual Reference Committee Meeting
Jana Ronan (Machine-Assisted Reference Section - MARS) and Joe Thompson (Reference Services Section - RSS)
Donna Dinberg, Spruce Fraser, Alex Hodges (MARS & RSS), Sheryl Katzin (MARS), Maira Liriano (RSS Chair), Kathleen Kern (MARS), Anne C. Moore (MARS & RSS), Barbara Petersohn, Beth Roberts (MARS), Doris Ann Sweet (MARS Chair)
Co-Chairs Jana Ronan and Joe Thompson began the committee’s first meeting with introductions at Joe Thompson read the committee’s initial purpose/mission statement: “To provide a timely forum for discussion of issues related to the provision of virtual reference services. Virtual Reference describes reference transactions that take place in an electronic medium.” Available online at: http://www.ala.org/ala/rusa/rusaourassoc/rusasections/rss/rsssection/rsscomm/virtualreferencecommittee/VirtRefComm.htm
A. Committee Membership Issues
The group believed that membership should be about ten members including the Co-Chairs. One Co-Chair will represent MARS and one Co-Chair will represent RSS. It was proposed that each section will have four seats on the committee in addition to the Co-Chair seat. Additional contributions to the committee could be in the form of virtual membership, intern positions and consultant positions. Also, subgroups could be formed. Members of subgroups would not have to be members of the main committee.
Doris Ann Sweet mentioned that as MARS Chair she is the one who can appoint the MARS members to the initial committee. These names can be forwarded to her from the current Co-Chairs. RUSA members may state their interest by filling out any of the following online forms:
· RSS Committee Interest Form
· MARS Committee Interest Form
· RUSA Committee Volunteer Online Form (general association volunteer form)
The initial charge must be revised to include the membership rules devised at this first committee meeting. Equal representation of both MARS and RSS should be stipulated. Joe Thompson recommended that membership should be inclusive of many types of librarianship (i.e. school media, public, and academic). Initial appointment time periods could be staggered so that members fall off the committee at different intervals. It was suggested that committee members attend at least one meeting during the year (although it would be preferred that committee members attend both annual and midwinter meetings). Also, virtual members should be updated and consulted by the Co-Chairs to make sure that all members remain and feel involved in committee assignments. The final charge must be approved by both MARS and RSS executive committees.
B. Ideas for Committee Activities and Responsibilities
Kathleen Kern, Co-Chair of the Virtual Reference Discussion Group, addressed the group about possible responsibilities the MARS/RSS Virtual Reference Committee could accept.
1. Guidelines for Implementing and Maintaining Virtual Reference Services
Prepared by theMARS Digital Reference Guidelines Ad Hoc Committee, Reference and User Services Association, 2004. Approved by the RUSA Board of Directors June 2004.
These guidelines need a home. This home could be the MARS/RSS Virtual Reference Committee. The Virtual Reference Discussion Group is not the appropriate place to host or revise them. The next revision is due in six years.
2. DREI Rubrics for Digital Reference Service Providers
The Digital Reference Education Initiative, which is an IMLS grant-funded project of
Future revisions could become a responsibility of the committee. However, this possibility is contingent on RUSA’s willingness to adopt the document.
3. Virtual Reference Discussion Group collaboration
A future Virtual Reference Discussion Group topic could be co-sponsored with this committee. Specifically, one idea might be a discussion of the DREI competencies/rubrics document. A time slot and room has been requested at ALA-Chicago 2005 by the Virtual Reference Discussion Group. There is potential for a large turnout. It was mentioned that this topic could be formed into a future RUSA program.
For 2006 Annual ALA-New Orleans, a deadline of
C. Group Interests
Individuals at the meeting shared their personal virtual reference service interests and discussed how they might want to be involved in the committee’s work.
The meeting was adjourned by the Co-Chairs at
Alex R. Hodges