13th Annual Reference Research Forum

2007 ALA Annual Conference, Washington, DC

Not Dead Yet! Ready Reference in Live Chat Reference
Presenters: Marie L Radford, Associate Professor, Rutgers University; and Lynn Silipigni, Consulting Research Scientist, OCLC

This paper reports results of an in-depth analysis of a random sample of 600+ live chat virtual reference transcripts from an international population of 480,000+ transcripts from OCLC's QuestionPoint. These anonymous transcripts were analyzed by: Type of Query, Subject of Query, and Session Duration. Preliminary analysis of 273 transcripts found a surprising 30% to be ready reference questions. Social Science (42%) was the predominant subject area with mean Session Duration of approximately 14 minutes. The authors will present detailed findings, discuss implications, and provide recommendations to promote reflective practice and service excellence in both face-to-face and virtual reference environments. 

Evaluating the Quality of Instant Messaging Reference Service through Transcript Analysis
Presenters: Erin Rushton, Science Librarian, Binghamton and Sarah Maximiek, Government Documents / Reference Librarian, Binghamton University

The Binghamton University Libraries' Digital Reference Committee (DRC) initiated a transcript analysis project to evaluate Instant Messaging transcripts for one year of service. The committee and reviewers collected data from the transcripts such as time, date, length of session, source used to answer question, type of question asked, correct and completeness of answer and compliance to RUSA's Guidelines for Behavioral Performance of Reference and Information Service Providers. The DRC then analyzed the data to determine if the questions answered through the IM reference service were being answered in accordance to the Guidelines for Behavioral Performance of Reference and Information Service Providers, and how often the questions were being answered correctly and completely. The DRC also used the data to make recommendations on web page design and electronic resource access.

Library Websites / Library MySpace Profiles: Online Redundancy or Meeting New Needs?
Presenter: Beth Evans, Electronic Services Librarian, Brooklyn College Library

Libraries conducting business through online social networks find themselves maintaining a number of portals with varying faces on the web. Social networks such as MySpace encourage individuals, groups and institutions that walk their paths to make use of interactive and often entertaining tools that are not as typically employed on a more traditional web site. Libraries are always eager to engage their visitors both in the physical and the virtual world. The researcher explores the extent to which libraries are using a variety of online tools to reach their users both through traditional web sites and newly emerging social network profiles. Additionally, she observes incidents where tools have crossed boundaries from one environment to the other and features of each environment that have not crossed the lines.