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Remote Electronic Reference Eileen G. Abels College of Information Studies University of Maryland Prepared for SLA Annual Conference June12, 2000.

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Presentation on theme: "Remote Electronic Reference Eileen G. Abels College of Information Studies University of Maryland Prepared for SLA Annual Conference June12, 2000."— Presentation transcript:

1 Remote Electronic Reference Eileen G. Abels College of Information Studies University of Maryland Prepared for SLA Annual Conference June12, 2000

2 Overview of Presentation n Topics to cover –Remote reference overview –Approaches to reference Receiving requests Clarifying requests Delivering final product –Future trends

3 Source of Information for Presentation n Literature review n Research n Student research: –Karen Huffman –Marlee Grantham –Kreg Purcell

4 Remote Reference n Letter n Fax n Telegram n Telephone n Electronic –Asynchronous , Internet/ Intranet Forms –Synchronous Real Time, Video-conferencing, Chat

5 Issues in offering Remote Electronic Reference Services n Need to negotiate request n Need for immediate response or acknowledgement n Importance of non-verbal communication n Need for brief instructions and explanation of service n Need to gather statistics

6 Trends in Reference n Current Usage –Academic Libraries High usage and Innovative usage –Public Libraries Increasing but not widely adopted nationwide –Special Libraries Wide use of n Complements in-person and telephone reference (ranges from 1% -80%)

7 Reference: Receiving Requests n Free-form: Via with no form to guide patron/user. May not be a formal service n Free-form with instructions: Via without form but prior instructions provided (on Internet or Intranet, in newsletter, etc.) n Form –Structured Form or Loose Form

8 Which to Choose Depends Upon: n Size of organization n Diverse versus homogeneous user group n Use of common sources n Depth of understanding of user group n Nature of work –confidentiality –deadlines

9 Reference Without a Form n Try to be systematic in interaction with patron/user n Make assumptions only when you are confident n Know when to turn to another medium –if not successful after one exchange, switch

10 Request Form n Contents –Contact & personal data –Subject information –Information requirements –Delivery of search results n Trend toward implementation of a form n Form may incorporate mechanism for gathering statistics

11 Reference: Clarification of Request n How to contact patron/user? – –Telephone –In-person

12 Which Method to Use to Clarify the Request? n Depends on the nature of the question and point(s) needing clarification n Depends on the organizational structure: –Academic and public tend to use . –Special Libraries used the telephone most often.

13 Reference: Delivery of Final Product n Options – attachment –Lotus Notes –Links to html documents –Hard Copy via mail, overnight service, fax, interoffice –Telephone response (short, factual) n CAUTION: Comply with copyright law

14 Limitations to Reference Services n Technological –Attachments –Compatibility of systems –Remote access n User Expectations –24 X 7 –Speed of response –Everything available in electronic form

15 Remote Reference Policy n Important to develop a policy –Turn-around time –Limitations (no long distance calls) –Types of questions –User groups to whom service is offered –Explanation of delivery limitations n Important to make the policy accessible –may post on web site

16 What Does the Future Hold for Electronic Remote Reference Services? n Will be used more widely n will remain popular n Will change with new and cheaper technologies n Interactive remote electronic reference –TalkBack, Instant Messaging, Microsoft Net Meeting –Video Conferencing (CU-SeeMe)


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