MARS Virtual Reference Joint Midwinter 2008

MARS/RSS Virtual Reference Services Committee Meeting

ALA Midwinter Meeting 2008

Philadelphia, PA

Sheraton City Center, Freedom Ballroom

Saturday, January 12. 2008

8:00 – 10:00 a.m. 



Chairs: Joe Thompson (co-chair, RSS), Alicia Korenman (acting co-chair, MARS) 

Members: Marianne Stowell Bracke (Tutorial subcommittee), Buff Hirko (chair of Tutorial subcommittee), Valli Hoski (co-chair of Index subcommittee), Carla Steinberg Pfahl (co-chair of Index subcommittee), Lori Thornton 

Visitors: Beth Cackowski, Katherine Cordes, Alisa Gonzalez, Jennifer Laherty, Sam Stormont, Johannah White 

Summary of Meeting 

  1. [Note: The committee met on Saturday morning from 8:00 - 10:00 a.m. during the RSS All-Committee Meeting.] The committee members and visitors in attendance introduced themselves.
  2. Joe called the meeting to order and a committee member, Carla Pfahl, offered to take the minutes.
  3. The agenda for the meeting was approved.
  4. Several minor changes were offered to the minutes from ALA Annual ’07 in Washington DC. The minutes were then approved.
  5. Joe asked for comments from our program at ALA Annual ’07. 168 people attended the program. We reviewed feedback and comments and overall the remarks were favorable. People did want to make sure that the description of the program represents what they actually see. Valli offered to do another evaluation form for 2008’s program.
  6. Planning began for our ALA Annual ’08 program in Anaheim: Please Talk to Strangers Online: Spreading Trust in Virtual Reference. We reviewed the program description and reviewed our conference call of December 17, where we had selected speakers. Speakers will be Caleb Tucker-Raymond of the Oregon State VR Service as the facilitator, and Karen Docherty of the Maricopa Community College System Cooperative VR Service, Vince Mariner of AskHerePA, and Bill Pardue of the Arlington Heights Public Library. Bill is unable to attend, so we discussed the logistics of having him speak virtually. Joe also raised the issue that all the speakers work with QuestionPoint—should we try to find someone using another program? We looked at three models for how the session could go and took a vote, deciding in favor of model one: Go with Bill Pardue as virtual speaker with backup (prerecorded video) with 2 other speakers, plus Caleb. Sam and Valli volunteered to work with Bill and the hotel to set things up for the virtual speech.
  7. Carla gave a report from the Virtual Reference Directory subcommittee, which is working on an index/registry of virtual reference services. They had three meetings in the fall to discuss what the end product will look like, but they need more members for this to move forward.
  8. Buff gave a report from the Anytime, Anywhere, Answers virtual reference tutorial subcommittee. There have been some delays with the site; the tutorial is up, but needs to be updated. Buff’s last ALA meeting will be Anaheim, so she needs to hand over the reins.
  9. Joe noted that we need to start moving up revising the Guidelines for Implementing and Maintaining VR Services. We’ll assign sections to committee members to revise. Committee members will be required to do this and we’ll hope volunteers will participate. Alicia volunteered to coordinate the revisions. The guidelines are linked from the RUSA website as well as the MARS site.
  10. At Anaheim, the committee will meet Sunday morning during the MARS All-Committee meeting.
  11. We discussed whether we want to do a program at Annual ‘09 in Chicago. Joe will no longer be serving as co-chair. We need to get ideas for the topic because the description must be submitted at Anaheim. If we don’t do a program, we don’t want to get out of the habit of doing one. Possible topic: comparing options of vendors/programs--something more practical.
  12. The meeting was adjourned.

Minutes recorded by Carla Steinberg Pfahl

Updates by Alicia Korenman and Joe Thompson

Approved by the committee during ALA Annual 2008 in Anaheim.