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Email is for Old People: Inter-generational Disconnects in Virtual Reference Communication Presented by Lynn Silipigni Connaway, Ph.D. Senior Research.

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Presentation on theme: "Email is for Old People: Inter-generational Disconnects in Virtual Reference Communication Presented by Lynn Silipigni Connaway, Ph.D. Senior Research."— Presentation transcript:

1 is for Old People: Inter-generational Disconnects in Virtual Reference Communication Presented by Lynn Silipigni Connaway, Ph.D. Senior Research Scientist OCLC Research September 5, 2008

2 Libraries Provide systems and services to meet the information needs of differing groups Largest groups Baby boomers Cohort #1 Cohort #2 Millennials Screenagers

3 Libraries M eet the information needs of differing groups Largest groups Baby boomers ( ) Cohort #1 (Born 1946 – 1954) Cohort #2 (Born 1955 – 1964) Millennials (1979 – 1994) Screenagers (Born )

4 Who Are They? Baby Boomers Actual boom in births occurred between s - Time of prosperity 1960s & 1970s - Time of social upheaval Comprise largest part of workforce (45%)

5 Who Are They? Baby Boomers Cohort #1 Born Experimental Individualists Free spirited Social cause oriented Cohort #2 Born Less optimistic Distrust of government General cynicism

6 Who Are They? Millennials Millennials / NextGens / EchoBoomers / Gen Y Born – 80 Million Generational divide year olds By 2010 will outnumber Baby Boomers

7 Screenagers Youngest members of Millennial Generation Term coined in 1996 by Rushkoff Used here for year olds Affinity for electronic communication

8 Information Perspectives: Baby Boomers Value authoritative information Involved in information seeking Value library as place Use technology as tool Personalized service

9 Information Perspectives: Millennials Information is information Media formats dont matter Visual learners Process immediately Different research skills

10 Information-seekers Preferences IMLS-funded projects How individuals find information to meet their needs Why information seekers do not choose to use library services first for their information needs How libraries can develop services and systems to meet the needs of information seekers

11 Sense-Making the Information Confluence: The Whys and Hows of College and University User Satisficing of Information Needs

12 Baby Boomer Preferences Convenience Authoritative Sources Colleagues Personalization

13 Baby Boomers: Convenient & Authoritative Yeah, well, actually I was going to be different and not say Google. I do use Google, but… [I also] use two different library homepages… and I will go into the research databases… do a search there and then I will end [up]… limiting myself to the articles that are available online. [Google] is user friendly… library catalog is not. I'm suspicious of people who are publishing on-line because usually the peer review is much less rigorous. I'm not trust(ing) everything that's on the Internet…

14 Baby Boomers: Did Not Use the Library If I have a student mention a book and I'm not familiar with that book, Amazon.com gives me a brief synopsis, … reader reviews of the book, so it's a good, interesting first source to go to for that kind of information. …before I came to the library to use the MLA database, I did a Google search and it turns out that there is a professor at Berkeley who keeps a really, really nice and fully updated… page with bibliographic references.

15 Millennials: Convenient & Quick Also I just go ask my dad, and he'll tell me how to put in a fence, you know? So why sort through all this material when he'll just tell me …you need to know which database with abstracting, indexing… Google, I don't have to know, I go to one spot. …first thing I do, is, I go to Google… I don't go into the [library] system unless I have to because there's like 15 logins, you have to get into the research databases. Then it takes you out of that to [the local consortium]… I had the Google tool bar, tool bar on my browser. I dont even have to go to a search engine anymore. I mean it is literally one tab down…

16 Millennials: Did Not Use the Library The library is a good source if you have several months. Hard to find things in library catalog. Tried [physical] library but had to revert to online library resources. Yeah, I don't step in the library anymore… better to read a 25-page article from JSTOR than 250-page book. Sometimes content can be sacrificed for format.

17 Seeking Synchronicity: Evaluating Virtual Reference Services from User, Non-User, & Librarian Perspectives

18 How to Communicate with Users of Different Age Groups VRS Transcript Analysis

19 Facilitators – Differences Millennials (n=296) vs. Adults (n=76) Millennials demonstrated these behaviors less often than Adults On average (per transcript) Thanks Self Disclosure Closing Ritual On average (per occurrence) Seeking reassurance Polite expressions

20 Facilitators – Differences Millennials (n=296) vs. Adults (n=76) Lower averages (per transcript) Thanks 59% (175) vs. 75% (57) Self Disclosure 42% (125) vs. 63% (48) Closing Ritual 38% (111) vs. 50% (38) Lower averages (per occurrence) Seeking reassurance 56% (166) vs. 68% (52) Polite expressions 30% (90) vs. 33% (25)

21 Facilitators – Differences Millennials (n=296) vs. Adults (n=76) Millennials demonstrated these behaviors more often than Adults On average (per occurrence) Agree to suggestion Lower case Greeting Ritual Admit lack knowledge Interjections/Hedges Slang

22 Barriers – Differences Millennials (n=296) vs. Adults (n=76) Millennials demonstrated these behaviors more often than Adults On average (per transcript) Abrupt Endings Impatience Rude or Insulting

23 Why People Use – OR Choose Not to Use – VRS VRS Online Survey Analysis

24 VRS User Demographics Online Surveys (n=137) Majority Respondents Female Caucasian years old Suburban public libraries

25 VRS Users Reasons for Choosing VRS (n=137) Convenience, convenience, convenience Immediate answers Lack of cost Available 24/7 Important to Screenagers Efficiency Enjoy medium Millennials find much more enjoyment Lack of intimidation

26 Quotes from VRS Users Convenience Absolutely. It is convenient and always helpful, even more helpful than going physically to the library. And you are on your own computer with all of your information. It is especially helpful when taking an online course because the lessons are online. (User online survey Millennial: 45143) Enjoy The chat reference librarian was personable, and the experience was easy and fun. Not only that, she found items I didn't think to ask for, and put those items on "hold" for me at my local public library. How convenient! (User online survey Adult: 36087)

27 VRS Users Other Generational Differences Millennials More desperate needs for quick answers Multi-tasking Screenagers Greater connection to the librarian Opportunity for dialogue Elimination of geographic boundaries Less intimidating than the reference desk Librarians reactions more clear Easier to express thanks to a librarian

28 Quotes from VRS Users Quick The chat format was helpful because it allowed me to get quick, easy answers. (User online survey Screenager: 77045) Multitask Yes, if only for the convienence and ability to multi-task. (User online survey Millennial: 98115) Greater connection to librarian Yes, because I was able to chat like I do to a regular friend and she understood what I was saying. (User online survey Screenager: 49365)

29 Quotes from VRS Users Less intimidating than the reference desk it is easier to engage in live chat [than] approach a librarian face to face. (User online survey Millennial: 64280) Elimination of geographic boundaries It was easier then driving in my car to a library and I could stay focised on my work. (User online survey Screenager: 10977)

30 VRS Non-User Demographics Online Surveys (n=184) Majority Respondents Female Caucasian years old Suburban and urban public libraries

31 VRS Non-Users Why They Choose Among Modes Convenience, convenience, convenience Working from home At night or on weekends Millennials especially value convenience

32 VRS Non-Users Why They Choose Among Modes Qualities of the individual librarian Knowledge (FtF) Trustworthy sources (FtF) Persistence (FtF & telephone) Friendliness (FtF & telephone) Perception that librarian is too busy More prevalent with Boomers

33 Reasons for Non-use of VRS Boomers & Millennials Do not know Service availability Librarian can help 24/7 availability Satisfied with other information sources Boomer concerns Their own Computer literacy Typing speed Complexity of chat environment

34 Quote from VRS Non-User Reason for non-use Boomers own computer literacy I most likly will not use this service. Computers were not taught in High School when I gratuated in 1972, I have only had a computer and used since 2005, I have never used a chat room or service. (Non-user online survey Boomer: 61939)

35 Important to both VRS Users & Non-Users Librarian Qualities Knowledge of sources & systems Positive attitude Good communication skills Accuracy of answers/information

36 What Did We Learn? Traditional Library Environment Baby Boomer Preferences Millennial Preferences Logical, linear learning Multi-tasking Largely text based Visual, audio, multi- media Learn from the expert Figure it out for myself Requires PatienceWant it now MetasearchFull text ComplexitySimplicity

37 What Now? Three Opportunity Areas: 1.Content 2.Access 3.Services

38 1. Content What can libraries do? Tailor content Shape collections More choices Make discovery & delivery easy

39 1. Content What libraries are doing today: Network level services Discovery 24x7 access Online content Incorporating more relevant & different types of content Enabling user contributed content

40 2. Access What can libraries do? Expand search tools Expose library content through both: Library interfaces Non-library interfaces Provide access – anytime, anywhere Mobile interfaces

41 2. Access What libraries are doing today: Broadcast & federated search WorldCat Local Partnerships Web services

42 3. Services What can libraries do? Integrate physical spaces with virtual services Provide a comfortable environment Support collaboration Update infrastructure Provide library instruction Redesign the role of the librarian

43 3. Services What libraries are doing today: Virtual reference Social networking tools Profiles User contributed content Tags Reviews Lists Recommendations RSS feeds / alerts Community tools & Collaboration

44 What Did We Learn? Communication critically important! Difficult process Generational differences add to complexity! Need user education for more realistic expectations

45 Avoid Impatient or Rude Behavior Greetings – crucial moment Chance to establish personal relationship & trust Use self-disclosure to build rapport Recognize that any user may be impatient at times Question complex? Tell them this may take some time & ask if they can wait Dont force instruction

46 Encountering Rude or Impatient Behavior? Do Use common sense & intuition Remain polite Apologize as appropriate Dont Take it personally Mirror rudeness Reprimand user

47 What Did We Learn? Libraries are trusted sources of information Search engines are trusted about the same People care about the quantity and quality of information they find They like convenience and speed They do not view paid information as more accurate than free information

48 What Did We Learn? The image of libraries is… BOOKS People do not think of the library as an important source of electronic information!

49 What Can We Do? Create a library experience which matches the experience of the web Easy search functionality Integrated library search for all sources Social networking software Recommender service Click-through to online sources Point of need reference services Multiple Modes Customizable library portals

50 What Can We Do? Encourage them to use libraries Creative marketing Promote full range of reference options Reassure young people that chat is safe Build positive relationships 1 person at a time, whether FtF, phone, or online

51 What Can We Do? By understanding them, we can serve everyone better

52 Additional Resources Boomer Nation: The Largest and Richest Generation Ever and how it Changed America, S. Gillon. New York: Free Press, College Student Perceptions of Libraries and Information Resources, OCLC, Dublin: OH, 2005 Generations: The History of Americas Future, , N. Strauss & W. Howe. New York: Morrow, Generations at Work, S. Luck. enerations.ppt enerations.ppt Growing Up Digital, D. Tapscott. Millennial Behaviors and Demographics. Sweeney,R. folders/sweeney/Millennials/Article-Millennial-Behaviors.dochttp://library1.njit.edu/staff- folders/sweeney/Millennials/Article-Millennial-Behaviors.doc Millennial Net Values: Disconnects between Libraries and the Information Age Mindset, R. Mcdonald & C. Thomas. Millennials Rising: The Next Great Generation, W. Howe & N. Strauss. New York: Random House, 2000.

53 Additional Resources Net Generation Students and Libraries, J. Lippincott. In Educating the Net Generation, Educause Perceptions of Libraries and Information Resources, OCLC Dublin: OH, Playing the Future: How Kids Culture Can Teach Us to Thrive in an Age of Chaos, D. Rushkoff. New York: HarperCollins, Sense-making the Information Confluence: The Hows and the Whys of College and University User Satisficing of Information Needs, Brenda Dervin, Ohio State University, Principal Investigator; Lynn Silipigni Connaway and Chandra Prabha, Co-Investigators. Institute for Museums and Library Services Research Grant, Screenagers and Live Chat Reference: Living Up to the Promise, M.L. Radford & L.S. Connaway. (February, 2007). Scan, 26(6), Studying Students: The Undergraduate Research Project at the University of Rochester, N. Foster & S. Gibbons. Chicago: Association of College and Research Libraries, 2007.

54 Special Thanks Rutgers University and OCLC Grant Project Team Marie L. Radford, co-investigator Jocelyn DeAngelis Williams Susanna Sabolsci-Boros Patrick Confer Timothy J. Dickey David Dragos Vickie Kozo Mary Anne Reilly Julie Strange OCLC Jasmine de Gaia

55 Notes This presentation is one of the outcomes from the project Sense-Making the Information Confluence: The Whys and Hows of College and University User Satisficing of Information Needs." Funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Ohio State University, and OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc., the project was implemented by Brenda Dervin (Professor of Communication and Joan N. Huber Fellow of Social & Behavioral Science, Ohio State University) as Principal Investigator; and Lynn Silipigni Connaway (Senior Research Scientist) and Chandra Prahba (Former Research Scientist), as Co-Investigators. More information can be obtained at: state.edu/ state.edu/

56 Notes This presentation is one of the outcomes from the project, Seeking Synchronicity: Evaluating Virtual Reference Services from User, Non-User, and Librarian Perspectives. Funded by IMLS, Rutgers University, & OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc., the project is being implemented by Marie L. Radford (Associate Professor, Rutgers University) and Lynn Silipigni Connaway (Senior Research Scientist, OCLC) as Principal Investigators. More information can be obtained at: city/default.htm city/default.htm

57 Questions & Comments Lynn Silipigni Connaway


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