Presentation on theme: "PLA National Conference Minneapolis, MN March 25-29, 2008 Exceeding Expectations: E-Reference Excellence in Collaborative VR Lynn Silipigni Connaway, Ph.D."— Presentation transcript:
PLA National Conference Minneapolis, MN March 25-29, 2008 Exceeding Expectations: E-Reference Excellence in Collaborative VR Lynn Silipigni Connaway, Ph.D. Marie L. Radford, Ph.D. Panel: Best Practices in Cooperative Virtual Reference
Seeking Synchronicity: Evaluating Virtual Reference Services from User, Non-User, and Librarian Perspectives Project duration 10/1/2005-3/30/2008 Four phases: Focus group interviews* Analysis of 850 QuestionPoint transcripts 496 online surveys* 283 telephone interviews* * Interviews & Surveys with VRS Users, Non-users, & Librarians
Librarian VRS Providers: Demographics 175 Online Surveys: Majority female & Caucasian Academic librarians outnumber public librarians More urban than suburban or rural Most years old 100 Telephone Interviews: Majority female & Caucasian Public librarians outnumber academic librarians More urban than suburban or rural Most years old
Recommendations for Cooperative Virtual Reference Services
Research Findings: Cooperative VRS Survey respondents (N=175): Eliminates geographic boundaries (96%) Focus group interview participants Virtual umbrella Provides dissolution of the boundary.
Recommendations: Cooperative VRS DAZZLE EM (FROM A DISTANCE) ADVERTIZE COOPERATION PROMOTE GLOBAL/LOCAL PRESENCE SEIZE OPPORTUNITIES TO BUILD RAPPORT
Research Findings: Cooperative VRS What is Reported to be Difficult? More public librarians than academic librarians experience difficulty answering questions from different geographic areas Working in a consortium (38%) Different libraries and policies Working with database access rights (18%)
Recommendations : Cooperative VRS OVERCOME BOUNDARIES & HEIGHTEN AWARENESS OF REMOTE ACCESS ISSUES DONT TEASE OR BAIT AND SWITCH GUIDE USERS BEYOND CONSORTIAL LIMITS
Research Findings: Cooperative VRS Survey Respondents (N=175): Consistently rated chat second only to FtF Satisfaction in a successful encounter very high (71%) Users satisfaction in a successful encounter very high (65%) Ability to provide reference excellent or very good (>50%)
Recommendations: Cooperative VRS DEVELOP & SHARE EXPECTATIONS EXCEED EXPECTATIONS AIM FOR EXCELLENT SERVICE & CULTIVATE REPEAT USERS
Recommendations for Individual VRS Providers Librarians & Staff
Research Findings: VRS Librarians Challenges Reported in Online Survey (N=175) User impatience (79%) Negative encounters in critical incidents (N=173) Unrealistically high user expectations (47%) Homework help (17%) Rarely or never experience Prank questions (46%) Inappropriate language (60%) Inappropriate questions (50%) Rude users (50%)
Research Findings: VRS Librarians BUT Survey Respondents rated VRS second to FtF for users saying thanks
Recommendations: VRS Librarians START OFF ON THE RIGHT FOOT! ACCENTUATE THE POSITIVE MAINTAIN A PROFESSIONAL TONE BE YOURSELF
Recommendations: VRS Librarians DO NOT DISMISS QUESTIONS OUT OF HAND CLARIFY THE QUESTION
Research Findings: VRS Librarians Positive Online Survey Critical Incidents (N=175) VRS is especially good in providing: Specific resources (62%) Database searches for articles (26%) Specific websites (86%) VRS is less effective in providing: Technical support (11%) Library policy info. (11%)
Recommendations: VRS Librarians INCREASE ACCURACY – ANSWER THE SPECIFIC QUESTION PROVIDE A VARIETY OF RESOURCES
Research Findings: VRS Librarians Online Survey (N=175) VRS is good in ability to refer users to subject specialists Challenge – Disappearing users (88% reported) Public librarians report even higher incidence of disappearing users But… all able to handle such challenges (ability excellent or very good).
Recommendations: VRS Librarians MANAGE COMPLEX OR MULTIPLE QUERIES REFER COMPLEX QUESTIONS THEY DISAPPEARED? COMPLETE INQUIRY ANYWAY
End Notes This is one outcome from the project, Seeking Synchronicity: Evaluating Virtual Reference Services from User, Non-User, and Librarian Perspectives, Marie L. Radford & Lynn Silipigni Connaway, Co-Principal Investigators. Funded by IMLS, Rutgers University and OCLC, Online Computer Library Center, Inc. Special thanks to Patrick Confer, Timothy J. Dickey, Jocelyn DeAngelis Williams, & Janet Torsney. These slides available at project website:
Questions & Comments Lynn Silipigni Connaway, Ph.D. Marie L. Radford, Ph.D.