Reference Research Forum 2009

15th Annual Reference Research Forum
2009 Annual Conference Chicago, IL



What WOREP Results Say About Reference Service, Patron Satisfaction and Success
Julie A. Gedeon, Carolyn J. Radcliff, and Barbara F. Schloman
*Recipient of the 15th Annual Reference Research Forum Research Grant
This presentation will describe 24 years of WOREP survey results from more than 100 academic libraries. We will highlight strengths and compare results from earlier years to today’s reference services, including both patron and staff perspectives on the nature and quality of in-person reference service.

Summary of the Study:

Table of Response Frequencies:


Measuring the Effectiveness of Online Tutorials: A Pragmatic Approach
Cindy Craig and Curt Friehs
A public librarian worked with an academic librarian to develop an effective way
to measure online tutorial efficacy. A two-part survey was created to measure
both learning outcomes and gather feedback from end-users. This initial
research project answered as many questions as it raised. This led to a second
research undertaking comparing the effectiveness of video versus HTML tutorials.
The results were startling. Currently, a bulk of the professional literature is
out of synch with patron expectations and optimal learning outcomes.


“Teachable Instants” in Instant Message Reference: Taking the Opportunity or Taking a Pass?
Megan Oakleaf and Amy VanScoy

A decade after the inception of virtual reference service in academic libraries, many librarians have mastered the chat and instant message (IM) technology, become comfortable with providing answers without body language and voice clues, and even learned the “cool” IM abbreviations. However, like other services provided by academic libraries, virtual reference is ultimately about teaching and learning. This research study identifies instructional techniques that are grounded in educational theory and easily integrated into a reference librarian’s instructional repertoire and examines the presence of these techniques in academic library chat transcripts. Librarians can integrate these instructional techniques into reference training, ensuring that reference staff is prepared not only to answer questions via IM reference, but also facilitate student learning. Similarly, this research can be used to improve reference evaluation procedures by arming librarians with specific strategies and examples that can be identified in the chat transcripts of their own institutions and used for ongoing reference improvement.