Reference Research Forum Anaheim 2008

14 th Annual Reference Research Forum
2008 Annual Conference Anaheim, CA

The READ Scale (Reference Effort Assessment Data) Project: Qualitative Statistics for Meaningful Reference Assessment, A Report on the National Study
Dr. Bella Karr Gerlich, University Librarian at Dominican University; Ms. G. Lynn Berard, Principal Librarian, Engineering and Science, Carnegie Mellon University
Current methodologies for data gathering of statistics do not adequately reflect the effort / knowledge / experience / skill / value-added service of reference staff.  The READ Scale (Reference Effort Assessment Data) was developed as a tool in an attempt to gather unrecorded qualitative ?value-added? data associated with the reference transaction.  A national study was conducted to test the viability of the READ Scale as an adaptable / adoptable tool at diverse institutions and determine its effectiveness and practical applications in reference librarianship, and acquire data to support or disprove to its use in the modern context of the statistics / assessment  / measures / recognition of value-added service related to reference work.
Does Size Matter?  Examining Trends in the Provision of Remote Reference Services in Academic and Public Libraries
Presenters:  Eileen G. Abels, Ph.D., Associate Professor, College of Information Science & Technology, Drexel University; Denise E. Agosto, Ph.D., Associate Professor, College of Information Science & Technology, Drexel University; Lorri Mon, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Florida State University, College of Information
This study examines the state of remote reference services being offered in public and academic libraries in the United States, including the use of technologies such as email, chat, instant messaging (IM), and Rich Site Summary (RSS).  The results will be compared between public and academic libraries and among size categories as well.  Data analysis is complete for the public libraries in the sample.  Initial findings indicate significant differences in reference media offerings based on the size of service populations in public libraries.  The academic library data gathering has also been completed, and data analysis is underway to determine if similar service differences by size occur in academic libraries.
Problems, Processes, and Judgments: User Expectations of Online Reference Service
Lynn Westbrook, Assistant Professor, School of Information, University of Texas
If we can understand why they come to VR, then we can both hone the service and attract additional users by more tightly targeting our service developments.  This study triangulates three bodies of data: 5,293 selected Internet Public Library email queries over a period of 31 months, all 402 of an academic library?s chat reference transactions over a period of five months, and all 170 of an academic library?s email reference queries over 39 months.  The queries are artifacts of user expectations; these disparate data sources provide insight into user expectations across geographical, chronological, and organizational boundaries. Each of these questions was examined to identify, wherever possible, two key elements of the user?s expectation of the reference transaction: (a) characteristics of the assistance that librarians could provide and (b) characteristics of the use to be made of that assistance.  The analysis characterizes user expectations in terms of the nature of the aid users expect to receive and in terms of the kind of information problem they expect to be able to solve.