Posts tagged ‘Digital reference’

Reference Renaissance Twofer — New Book & CFP for 2010 Conference

A post by Marie L. Radford

Nothing thrills a writer/editor more than the joy of finally being able to see a finished book that you have had in the works for many months.  I am delighted to announce that Reference Renaissance: Current and Future Trends is now available from Neal-Schuman!  I had the privilege of working with co-editor Dave Lankes of Syracuse University on the book which captures the latest in the work of researchers and practitioners, updated from their presentations at the first (hugely successful!) Reference Renaissance Conference. Dave is the creative, intellectual, and dynamic force behind the ground-breaking Virtual Reference Desk conferences and books which have provided inspiration and models for the Reference Renaissance events and publications.

Anyone interested in the latest buzz should take a look at this book which features current research in reference, including virtual services like IM and live chat, innovative service models, and philosophical approaches. In addition, numerous “reports from the field” chronicle innovative service models, virtual reference successes, marketing, initiatives in staff development and training, and using search engines and other virtual tools.

I have authored a chapter with Lynn Silipigni Connaway of OCLC called:  “Getting Better All the Time: Improving Communication and Accuracy in Virtual Reference” that features results and recommendations from our Seeking Synchronicity IMLS, Rutgers, and OCLC, Inc. grant project. Here’s a sneaky – peek from our chapter… The top tip for boosting accuracy when you are providing live chat VR is the following: when asked for specific information, before you push a Web site or URL, check to make sure it contains the precise information requested by the user, not just a general overview of the topic. We found this simple verification step would have increased accuracy from 78% to90% for ready reference questions.

The book also contains the provocative keynote “Reference in the Age of Wikipedia, or Not…” by David W. Lewis, Dean of the IUPUI University Library, as well as the remarks from the plenary panel on “Theory Meets Practice: Educators and Directors Talk” featuring Dave Lankes and myself (the educators) as well as Jamie LaRue, Director of the Douglas County Libraries, CO and Carla J. Stoffle Dean of the University of Arizona Libraries (the directors).

To heighten our excitement, this book’s publication comes as we are dead smack in the middle of planning for the second Ref Ren conference: Reference Renaissance 2010: Inventing the Future which will be held from August 8-10, 2010 in Denver, CO. I am again honored to be co-chair of the conference program, this time working with co-chair Rivkah Sass of Sacramento Public Library, and  Justine Schaffer of BCR, who is the overall conference chair. The Call for Participation is out and we are upping our game, inviting a greater diversity of submissions in innovative as well as traditional formats. We seek papers, panels, reports from the field, workshops, and Pecha Kucha proposals to do with forward-looking initiatives and strategies in all types of reference service and from a variety of library environments.

April 1st is the deadline, and I encourage all LG readers to think about submitting a proposal and planning to join us in Denver!

March 1, 2010 at 3:59 pm 1 comment

Virtual Reference Bibliography Website – Now Live

I write today from Harrisburg, PA, site of the REFolution Conference: Reference Service in a Constantly Changing World sponsored by Lyrasis (formed by the recent merger of PALINET/SOLINET). I just love the name and spirit of this conference, and was honored to deliver the keynote speech on the future of reference this afternoon to an audience of about 200 reference enthusiasts.

I am delighted to announce (as a Library Garden scoop, I might add) that a team of faculty and students at Rutgers have just launched the long awaited, highly anticipated Virtual Reference Bibliography designed to be used by librarians, students, scholars, and others who are interested in publications dealing with all aspects of virtual reference.

Hosted by Rutgers University’s SCILS, this site is a continuation of the digital reference services bibliography maintained from 2000 to 2004 by Bernie Sloan. It now contains 700+ entries from Bernie’s original bibliography, plus 200+ new items published from 2004 to the present. The redesigned site and new search interface was created by Ben Bakelaar of Rutgers as part of a final project for Information Design class, taught by Jacek Gwizdka, Ph.D.

I’d like to thank Ben, Jacek, and Bernie for their creative input and design expertise. I would also like to thank SCILS alums Andrea Simzak and Gillian Newton, and current student Jeff Teichmann for their competent and enthusiastic assistance in hours of verification and data input. I am also indebted to Andy Mudrak, IT Systems Administrator and Assistant Dean Jon Oliver for technical support.

This resource is designed to be an ongoing work in progress. We welcome your input to keep it current and accurate. Please leave a comment at the VR Bibliography website if you want to add a citation, to correct a mistake, or wish to make a suggestion.

Do take a look and let us know how you like it!

April 6, 2009 at 4:22 pm 1 comment

News from Oregon Virtual Reference Summit 2007 – QandA and Ready Reference from Texting Google Mobile SMS (Beta)

I just recently returned from giving a keynote address on June 1, at the Oregon Virtual Reference Summit 2007. Caleb Tucker-Raymond, Oregon Statewide Digital Reference Services Coordinator, organized this wonderful conference that drew participants from Oregon, Washington, and California, but was mainly designed to bring together librarians who participate in L-net: Oregon Libraries Network. My plenary was called “I Was Kind of Confused b4” Interpersonal Communication Research in Virtual Reference” and I gave a workshop on “Exploring Encounters with Chat Users: Analyzing VR Transcripts.” I am willing to share ppt and handouts to LG readers if you send me an e-mail request. The plenary was videotaped and may be on the open web at some point, I will blog about it if/when this happens.

While at the conference, I attended a fascinating panel on: “What Students Need, What Schools Need.” This program brought together the viewpoints of middle and high school librarians, public librarians, and a delightful young junior high student who spoke about VR from the student perspective. After the panel, I congratulated her on her presentation, poise, and enthusiasm for VR. She mentioned that she had heard me speak in the plenary, but at first had not know what the word “plenary” meant, so she had sent a text to Google. I said: “You did WHAT???” She said: “I sent a text to Google (466453) and I put in define plenary and it gave me the definition.” I had her show me and saw that it also returns the URL where the answer was found on the web.

Some of you may already know about (or use!) this service (which is in Beta testing), but it was news to me! (It was also news to my 16 yr. old daughter, the text maven in our house, which helped me to decide to blog about this). Later one of the helpful L-net participants printed out the Google Mobile info page and I found out that not only are word definitions possible, but also you get info on weather, flight updates, movies, translations, currency conversions, driving directions, QandA and more. Google’s example for using their QandA is: abraham lincoln birthday. If any of you have tried this service out please leave a comment telling me what you asked and how it went!

Here we see Google testing the waters, as some libraries are doing, with text reference services. The latest start up I have heard of SMS for libraries was in Australia as reported on the dig_ref listserv this week by Colin J. Bain, Library Services Manager of Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane. Their SMS service just started this past Monday (June 4th) and Colin told me that they have only had 2 queries so far about library opening hours. Since they haven’t done any publicity yet, traffic will surely pick up.

Hmmm, now I am definitely going to have to spring for unlimited text messaging on my cell phone.

June 7, 2007 at 3:02 pm 4 comments

The Thrill of the Chase in Cyberspace: A Report of Focus Groups with Live Chat Librarians

Happy New Year to all the LG faithful! At the risk of shameless self-promotion, I am writing because I am very excited at my 1st publication in an electronic journal. Lynn Silipigni Connaway of OCLC and I were invited to do a Guest Forum for the Informed Librarian Online, which we have called “The Thrill of the Chase in Cyberspace: A Report of Focus Groups with Live Chat Librarians. ” It is a brief account of the results of our focus group interviews with chat librarians from our IMLS grant Seeking Synchronicity: Evaluating Virtual Reference Services from User, Non-User, and Librarian Perspectives. The results of these focus groups have been used to design an online survey which we are in the process of conducting with 200 chat librarians. I am very interested in your reactions to our findings and welcome your comments!

January 3, 2007 at 9:41 pm


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