2005 Annual Meeting Minutes

2005 Annual Meeting Minutes

RUSA Reference Services Section

Ethical and Legal Issues in Reference Discussion Group

Palmer House Hotel, Room Clark 10

Chicago, Illinois

June 25, 2005, 3:00pm


The first meeting of the RUSA Reference Services Section, Ethical and Legal Issues in Reference Discussion Group was called to order by co-chairs Anne Cottongim and Chip (Charles) Stewart.   After brief introductions, discussion on the topic Ethical Issues and Chat Ref ensued.   Three questions were posed:   1) Does your chat service provide answers to questions from users outside the traditional user group?  2) How does your chat service handle technical and medical issues?  3)  Who staffs your chat service?


Some of the above issues were addressed by Beth Woodard in her article “One-on-One Instruction:   From the Reference Desk to Online Chat,” Reference and User Services Quarterly, v. 44, no. 3, Spring 2005, pp.203-209.   She described how the University of Illinois employs chat reference, how it is staffed, and raised several issues.  Librarians tend to commit “assumicide” wherein they make assumptions regarding what users want.  They do not question the user regarding their needs as much as they do in traditional face-to-face or phone reference service.  Step-by-step instruction does not occur as often either. 


The topic of understanding site licenses was also raised and someone suggested that it be a discussion topic at a future meeting.   Folks are interested in what makes a model licensing agreement as well as learning about techniques to use when negotiating licenses.    It was pointed out that there is software available which can be used to understand site licenses.


Plans for Midwinter were briefly discussed.   It was suggested that another time might be better and that the session might be scheduled to run one and one half to two hours.   Ideas regarding future topics as well as preferences for times and length of meeting should be forwarded to Anne  AL7470@wayne.edu or to Chip cstewart@ccny.cuny.edu   Information will be available on the RUSA Reference Services Section website regarding future plans for the group.


Jan Fryer, note taker