Reference Services Section RSS 2008 Annual Meeting Evaluation of Reference Services Minutes

Evaluation of Reference and User Services Committee

Reference Services Section

Reference and User Services Association

Meeting Notes

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Anaheim, Sheraton Park Hotel

(RSS All Committee Meeting)

Members present:

Carol Anderson, Caroline Bordinaro, Rachel Bridgewater, Deborah Costa, Ruby Licona, Colleen Seale, Kornelia Tancheva, David Vidor (chair and scribe), Susan Ware

Members absent:

Daniela Esparo (Intern, 2007-2008), Jeannette Moss, Dana Scott Peterman, Emily Rimland, Patricia A. Rosseel, Rob Vega


  1. David distributed notes, previously sent in email, for the Saturday, January 12, 2008 meeting of the committee.

  2. Deb distributed notes from the Sunday, January 13, 2008 open forum the committee held in Philadelphia. Committee members made suggestions/corrections, and Deb will revise and redistribute.

  3. The Committee actively discussed various options for getting wider distribution of Measuring and Assessing Reference Services and Resources: A Guide (MARSR). Encouraged by the very positive feedback about the document at the January 13, 2008 open forum from the people attending, the Committee discussed various print and electronic options. Various print publications were mentioned as targets for either extensive information including the document itself or briefer blurbs or boxes with a link to the URL for the document. The concept of having a serialization of the document in successive issues of a publication was supported. Among the publications suggested were RUSA Quarterly, RSS Review, C&RL News (ideal for either one article with the entire document or a serialization), and American Libraries (ideal for a box or blurb). Caroline volunteered to contact C&RL News and American Libraries after getting the go ahead from Ruby. While RUSA Quarterly had declined to publish MARSR earlier, perhaps with the RUSA Board’s revised definition of reference and increasing interest in accountability and metrics, that publication could be approached again. The redesigned ALA home page and ALA Connect were also mentioned as possible sites that could include a link to the document and the committee’s work. Interest was also expressed in communicating with other communities – like people in public libraries. A suggestion was made to have information available for distribution at Midwinter from one of the “cubbies” where groups have information that is picked up by many people.

  4. Rachel and Kornelia are going to attend the ARL conference on assessment in August, so the group was enthusiastic about their idea to distribute a flier at the conference about MARSR. Rachel volunteered to design a flier. David suggested that Rob Vega, a committee member who has a background in marketing, might be able to make suggestions for “jazzing” up the flier, if needed.

  5. A discussion about the possible use of wikis, blogs, and RSS feeds energized the committee. The Reference Services Section has the technology for several of these electronic forms of communication. Rachel volunteered to pursue the options with Virginia Cole (RSS web person) – Virginia’s personal email is All members of the RSS web group can be reached at , and we were encouraged to use this address rather than Virginia’s.

  6. David reminded the committee that each committee has a RSS Board member who can answer questions about procedures, policies, who to go to, etc. Our “buddy” for the past year has been Barb Mann, and the committee’s person for the 2008-2009 year is Ann Brown (George Washington University –

  7. Various means to keep the MARSR document up-to-date on the web were suggested. David volunteered to submit the definition of reference transactions and reference work, approved by the RUSA Board of Directors, January 14, 2008, to the RSS web people as an update to MARSR.

  8. In the discussion about possible options for the January 2009 meeting, the committee, based upon feedback from January 2008, decided to focus on specific evaluation tools that evaluated the reference experience. The committee decided to pursue a discussion on the practical application of three tools: WOREP (Wisconsin Ohio Reference Evaluation Program –, READ (Reference Effort Assessment Data –, and a user survey from SUNY Albany. David volunteered to contact Emily Rimland about WOREP use at Penn State, and Carol Anderson volunteered to identify appropriate people at SUNY Albany for READ and their user survey. Since this event will be a discussion and not a program, we need to identify people as discussion leaders and not speakers. We want a 15 minute “discussion starter” that anticipates questions on he effort, the cost, the benefits, and how the results were used; so that the last half of the session can be an open discussion. The committee wants to have everything “settled” by mid-October so that publicity about the session can be disseminated before the end of the year.