[Asis-l] ALA program announcement-Reference Research Forum

Nancy W Colborn ncolborn at iusb.edu
Wed Jun 12 10:50:35 EDT 2002

**This message has been cross-posted; please excuse duplication**


Sunday, 1:30-3:30pm, Georgia World Congress Center, Room A403

Three research projects in the field of reference services will be
presented by their authors, with a discussion following.   This year’s
presenters are:

A Comparison of Questions Asked in Face-to-Face, Chat, and E-mail
Reference Interactions by Charlotte Ford, Reference Librarian,
Birmingham-Southern College Library
Many libraries are experiencing an increase in the number of
computer-mediated reference interactions and a simultaneous decline in
the number of in-person reference interactions.  In this changing
environment, it is crucial for us to understand how these types of
interactions differ from each other.  A key part of this involves
understanding the types of questions that library users are asking
online as compared to the types of questions they ask in face-to-face
encounters.  I will discuss the results of an analysis of reference
questions asked via each medium in over 300 reference interactions
that took place in a single library in 2001.  The results of
chi-square tests done to check for significance of selected
differences across media will also be presented and the implications
of these differences discussed.

Search and Rescue: Repair Strategies of Remote Users Searching the
Online Catalog  by Nancy Turner, Electronic Resources Librarian,
Syracuse University Library and Susan Beck, Head, Humanities, Arts &
Social Sciences Dept., New Mexico State University Library
Transactions logs from this library’s online catalog indicate that
half of the searches are conducted beyond the boundaries of the
physical reference desk areas.  Without direct assistance from library
staff, how do users search the catalog?  When presented with results
sets of zero or several thousand hits, how do they repair their search
queries?  Analyzing transaction logs allows us to virtually “peek” at
search behavior and use the results to inform and improve our own
reference and instruction techniques.

What are Undergraduates Thinking?  Implications for the Reference
Interview by Etheline Whitmire, Assistant Professor, School of
Information Studies, University of Wisconsin, Madison
How do undergraduates handle ill-structured questions when completing
a term paper assignment?  Interviews with fifteen undergraduates
revealed that students at various stages of intellectual development
exhibited different information seeking behavior patterns when
searching for information in general, on the Web, and using the
library’s online public access catalog (OPAC).  Implications of these
findings for reference and information services are discussed.

Eric Novotny                                 Phone: 814-865-1014
Arts and Humanities Library                Fax: 814-863-7502
Pennsylvania State University              E-mail: ecn1 at psu.edu
University Park, PA 16802-1800


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