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Showing papers in "Reference and User Services Quarterly in 2010"


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Data collected has provided a better understanding of graduate student research behavior, methods of library access, and levels of satisfaction with library resources, which will inform local practices and has the potential to do the same at other institutions of higher learning nationwide.
Abstract: This study sought to determine the extent to which the Hesburgh Libraries of the University of Notre Dame meets the needs of its graduate students. It focused on how Notre Dame graduate students found research materials and how useful the Hesburgh Libraries’ collections were in their research and studies. Information gathered through this project indicates the level of usefulness of library resources and collections for one of its main constituents—graduate students. Graduate students’ contacts with the library, regardless of method, were almost always for their own research pursuits, not for faculty research. Graduate students at Notre Dame had more limited contacts with librarians and with library outreach research services. Most respondents (62.8 percent) preferred to use remote access to obtain copies of electronic items identified as relevant to their research. Across the board, however, graduate students were generally satisfied with the various library services. The survey showed that 44.6 percent and 41.1 percent of the respondents rated the library as “very useful” and “useful,” respectively, in their research. The data collected has provided a better understanding of graduate student research behavior, methods of library access, and levels of satisfaction with library resources, which will inform local practices and has the potential to do the same at other institutions of higher learning nationwide.

51 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: An examination of transformations to the LC indicates that frontline reference librarians can to some extent effect changes in their professional environments.
Abstract: Frontline reference librarians purvey their skills in a variety of reference service models. These range from the traditional to the tiered to the information commons (IC) to the learning commons (LC). Libraries might use one pure form of any model, a hybrid model, or a model in the process of transformation. A few libraries with space and funding have fully adopted the latest model, the LC. An examination of transformations to the LC indicates that frontline reference librarians can to some extent effect changes in their professional environments. HISTORICAL CONTEXT OF THE ROLE OF THE REFERENCE LIBRARIAN From the beginning of librarianship, the role of the reference librarian has been defined by the patrons' need for human mediation. (1) Reference librarians apply critical-thinking skills, emotional intelligence, teaching ability, and question analysis to connect the user with appropriate resources. While some libraries developed variations (such as tiered models), the traditional model, involving face-to-face interaction between a patron and a librarian who answered every type of question from one or more multipurpose service points, prevailed throughout the "paper era." By necessity, reference librarians were shackled to the library and the print collection. Public-access computers and remote access to data sets (i.e., Dialog) quickly sowed the seeds for a revolution in reference routines. Dialog search techniques were only the beginning. Soon, cyberspace was born. Staying abreast of new technology and upgrading computer skills became an integral part of reference librarians' duties. In the new medium's infancy, the reference librarian's role evolved to include nurturing and developing this new electronic "baby." The concomitant teaching role expanded to instruction in the use of multiple material formats, the online public access catalogs (OPACs), and the Internet. As the need to assist patrons with technical issues grew, the single access point for all types of assistance sometimes frustrated librarians and failed their patron. Libraries sometimes experimented with new types of tiered models that addressed the need for technical help. At one level, a general-information desk might be staffed by student assistants, graduate assistants, or staff. Another desk, staffed by specially trained librarians and paraprofessionals, might provide technical assistance. Specialists might be designated for word-processing, spreadsheet, SSPS, Blackboard, RefWorks, and other software assistance. Subject-specialist librarians might provide in-depth research assistance, often by appointment. Instruction sometimes became closely tied to reference services. Other libraries maintained a traditional service. With the number of remote library users rapidly growing, the need for new reference venues is clear. Reference services have implemented e-marl, chat, instant messaging (IM), voice over Internet protocol (VoIP), and text messaging. All of these new services provide new communication challenges in reference and instruction. Whatever the service model, attuned librarians recognize that the library website, the physical facilities, the print and electronic collections, reference, and instruction should be essential and interconnected components. THE INFORMATION COMMONS One response to technology was the development of the information commons (IC). Beagle defines a library IC as a "new type of physical facility" or section of a library "specifically designed to organize workspace and service delivery around an integrated digital environment" along with the support technology. (2) The physical library space is coordinated to become an extension of student study areas, and workspaces are organized to accommodate collaboration. Therefore the physical commons is designed to incorporate a cluster of access points to the digital arena. Armed with these access points, trained staff help users query, navigate, and process information. …

38 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: A study of library users’ and staff members’ expectations about the public library’s role in supporting citizens’ “healthwork” raises important questions about the emerging “geography of responsibilities” in health-informing work arising from changing information technology and new emphases in health policy.
Abstract: Members of the public are expected to assume increasing responsibility for their own health and to keep themselves informed about health issues. Here we describe a study of library users’ and staff members’ expectations about the public library’s role in supporting citizens’ “healthwork.” We conducted our research in a public library in the United Kingdom that operates on a model of patron self-service. Data were gathered through in-depth interviews with library patrons and staff members as well as a written survey of patrons who had visited the library because of a health concern. Our findings suggest that the library’s users regard the public library as a highly trusted source of health information. The majority of surveyed users were in search of books relevant to their health concern, and more than half were able to locate what they needed on their own. While generally self-sufficient, some of the survey respondents as well as those who took part in the interviews indicated that they had consulted library staff for help, although they appeared uncertain about the level of reference support they should expect. Members of the library’s reference desk staff who took part in the interviews expressed frustration over policies that limit the time available to support patron’s inquiries, and many lacked training, particularly in online health information resources. The results raise important questions about the emerging “geography of responsibilities” in health-informing work arising from changing information technology and new emphases in health policy.

36 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: For most students, federated search did not replace individual databases and online search engines, which also saw frequent use for class assignments, and both use and satisfaction declined as student classification rose.
Abstract: This study assessed student use of and satisfaction with the WebFeat federated search tool, which was implemented by the library at Sam Houston State University. Students voluntarily responded to an electronic survey, providing feedback on how often they conducted class research using the federated search tool, individual databases, and online search engines and how well each search tool satisfied their class research needs. The study found a high rate of federated search use but only moderate satisfaction; for most students, federated search did not replace individual databases and online search engines, which also saw frequent use for class assignments. Federated search use was highest among lower-level undergraduates, and both use and satisfaction declined as student classification rose. Classification—which can be seen as the amount of experience in an academic environment—played a larger role in federated search use and satisfaction than did age or subject area of study. Students have almost unlimited avenues through which to gather information for conducting research, both in libraries and online. Recent years have seen an increase in the quantity and popularity of free Web-based resources, such as Wikipedia. Regardless of the comparable quality of data, these tools present information in a simple, user-friendly way and require little formal knowledge of information organization and searching techniques. Such straightforward simplicity attracts many students, and academic libraries face challenges in capturing and keeping students’ attention to assist them in finding authoritative and appropriate research materials in the library.

32 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: According to a market survey showing that the public library is the first place many turn when seeking health information, librarians are the front-line workers in consumer health literacy.
Abstract: According to a market survey showing that the public library is the first place many turn when seeking health information, librarians are the front-line workers in consumer health literacy. A consumer health literacy initiative has been undertaken throughout the Pittsburgh public library system to help librarians assure meaningful access to consumers seeking health information. This initiative, the Health Information Fellowship, through which librarians attain their Consumer Health Information Specialist certificate from the Medical Library Association, has had numerous outcomes, including The fellowship is replicable and is currently being spread regionally.

32 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the authors describe the development of an instructional session aimed at enhancing students' information literacy skills by using socioeconomic data and explicitly considers the current stages of students' intellectual development and focuses on promoting intellectual maturation in the context of information use.
Abstract: To graduate as self-guided, motivated lifelong learners, university students must become information literate. Teaching information literacy (IL) skills has long been a core role of librarians. As information and communication technology evolves, the focus of IL teaching changes with it. When information first became digital, librarians focused on computer- and database-searching skills. With the advancement of the web, the information environment has become much more complex, even overwhelming, thus the focus of IL needs to shift to conceptual understanding and critical thinking. Teaching IL effectively at a cognitive level requires librarians to understand and consider the stages of students’ intellectual development . In addition, well-designed IL interventions can facilitate students’ intellectual development. This column describes the development of an instructional session aimed at enhancing students’ IL skills by using socioeconomic data. It explicitly considers the current stages of students’ intellectual development and focuses on promoting intellectual maturation in the context of information use.

30 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The results suggest that librarians use a few instructional strategies, but could learn and employ several more in their efforts to create information-literate students.
Abstract: In today’s climate of accountability in higher education, most colleges and universities—and therefore academic libraries—consider student learning the cornerstone of their missions. Reference service is one area in which libraries can demonstrate their commitment to support student learning. Are librarians using reference service to teach students? Or are they letting teachable moments pass by? This study identifies eight instructional strategies librarians can apply in digital reference transactions and analyzes the presence of these strategies in digital reference transcripts. The results suggest that librarians use a few instructional strategies, but could learn and employ several more in their efforts to create information-literate students. The authors hope that increased training in the use of these eight instructional strategies will allow librarians to maximize their impact on student learning. Portions of this article were presented at the RUSA Reference Research Forum at the 2009 ALA Annual Conference.

28 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Both usability studies revealed challenges with finding journal titles and journal articles and showed Google Scholar provided more effective user performance and user satisfaction than either the journal portal or the link resolver form.
Abstract: Finding journal titles and journal articles are two of the toughest tasks on academic library webpages. Challenges include choosing the best tools, using terms that make sense, and guiding the user through the process. In addition, the continued development of Google Scholar raises the question of whether it could become a better tool for finding a full-text article than link resolver software or journal portals. To study these issues, researchers at James Madison University analyzed results from two usability tests. One usability test focused on the library homepage navigation and had two tasks related to finding articles by citation and journals by title. The other test asked participants to find citations in three web interfaces: the library’s journal portal, Google Scholar, and the library’s link resolver form. Both usability studies revealed challenges with finding journal titles and journal articles. The latter study showed Google Scholar provided more effective user performance and user satisfaction than either the journal portal or the link resolver form. Based on the findings from the two usability studies, specific changes were made to the library webpages and to several library systems, including the catalog and link resolver form.

26 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the authors present the results of a survey of MLIS students' motivations for choosing a library career, as well as their outlook on the job market, preference for various subfields, and dreams about the future.
Abstract: Our paper presents the results of a survey of MLIS students’ motivations for choosing a library career, as well as their outlook on the job market, preference for various subfields, and dreams about the future. In 2004 several researchers conducted a survey of MLIS students at the University of Albama’s School of Library and Information Studies and reported the result in a 2006 RUSQ article. In a field of constant change, it is essential that a new study is conducted to glean current motivations for pursuing a MLIS degree. New technologies, economic issues, and other factors could affect a new generation of linrarian’s mindsets. Therfore we replicated the earlier survey, added some new questions, and compared our results. This article describes the results of the current survey. It shows that myriad reasons motivate students to pursue the MLIS, and librarians who have an interest in their new colleagues will find this paper of interest. We also suggest some practical steps that reference librarians (as well as human resource officers and library school administrators) can follow to recruit new librarians. This paper is based on a poster presented at the Alabama Library Association conference (ALLA), April 10, 2009, in Auburn, Alabama.

26 citations



Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, Norgaard defined "writing information literacy" as "the notion that writing theory and pedagogy can and should have a constitutive influence on our conception of information literacy."
Abstract: Librarians and writing instructors are longtime allies that share the goal of teaching information literacy (IL). The IL concept, however, has been undertheorized in its relationship to writing pedagogy In a series of articles on writing and IL, Norgaard challenges librarians and writing instructors to engage in an "informed conversation between writing and information literacy as disciplines and fields of endeavor." Removing the usual "and," Norgaard defines "writing information literacy" as "the notion that writing theory and pedagogy can and should have a constitutive influence on our conception of information literacy?" (1) He suggests that the IL theory should also have a reciprocal influence on composition pedagogy. Norgaard describes the basic problem with traditional conceptions of writing and IL: If libraries continue to evoke, for writing teachers and their students, images of the quick field trip, the scavenger hunt, the generic, stand-alone tutorial, or the dreary research paper, the fault remains, in large part, rhetoric and composition's failure to adequately theorize the role of libraries and information literacy in its own rhetorical self-understanding and pedagogical practice. (2) Norgaard places the blame squarely on his own discipline, but he also suggests that librarians must learn from theoretical insights from rhetoric and composition. Norgaard describes the paradigm shifts in writing instruction that have opened possibilities for teaching a more situated, process-oriented, and inquiry-driven rhetoric. Librarians have much to learn from these theoretical contributions. We also have much to learn and offer from our own theoretical tradition. In fact, both IL and rhetoric and composition draw from the same intellectual well, building upon more general pedagogical developments. This shared intellectual history can enliven the practice of both disciplines, creating a "rhetoricized" IL and an "informed" rhetoric. If writing instructors have undertheorized IL in relation to writing, this is, in part, because of librarians' failure to articulate the contributions that our theoretical tradition can make to rhetoric and composition and, by extension, learning in general. Furthermore, many of the prevailing "pedagogical enactments" of IL, such as Norgaard's generic stand-alone tutorials, scavenger hunts, and dreary research papers, reinforce traditional notions of IL and writing, derailing efforts to create a richer instructional practice) This article describes several pedagogical enactments of IL that are based on social constructivist and sociocultural learning theory First, it explores the ways in which librarians and writing instructors at Utah State University collaborate to counter a limited reading of IL through creative learning activities. Then it identifies some of the barriers to creating a more situated IL through a brief, exploratory analysis of the ways in which instructional tools shape differing, even contradictory, understandings of writing and IL. These exploratory case studies are meant to be illustrative of the promises and challenges of true "writing IL." INFORMING RHETORIC:THEORIES OF INFORMATION LITERACY Both librarians and writing instructors have explicitly cited the intertwined relationship between IL and writing. Three decades ago, Michael Kleine, a writing instructor, described the "horrors" of the night library, a place where students were "merely copying" and seeing "their purpose as one of lifting and transporting textual substance from one location, the library, to another, their teachers' briefcases." Kleine saw no "searching, analyzing, evaluating, synthesizing, selecting, rejecting, etc."(4) Nearly fifteen years later, librarian Barbara Fister identified the same problem, citing Kleine's image of the night library as one example. Fister writes that library instruction's focus on information retrieval suggests to students "that research consists of the ordered use of tools to locate pieces of information from which research projects can be assembled. …

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors compare the concept of the "problem patron" in the library and information science (LIS) and nursing literatures as the basis for developing a new framework for use in LIS.
Abstract: This article compares the concept of the “problem patron” in the library and information science (LIS) and nursing literatures as the basis for developing a new framework for use in LIS. The trend in the LIS literature has been to identify either the patron or the patron’s behavior as the problem. The nursing literature uses interactionist theories to contextualize the so-called problem within a larger framework that includes, among other things, the nurse, hospital-related norms of behavior, the patient care environment, the philosophy of care, and the patient’s own life experiences. This paper examines theories of stigma, deviance, and labeling, among others, as they have been used in the nursing literature to examine the process and effect of labeling. I argue that the work on labeling found in the nursing literature provides the foundation for a new framework to think about the “problem patron” in LIS. In the proposed framework, I define problem behavior at three different levels: the community, the library, and the individual. Using this framework is helpful for thinking about solutions because it encourages us to respond to the “problem” at the level where the behavior is labeled as deviant. This framework is used to explore solutions offered in the LIS literature for the problems that can be identified at each of these different levels.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, the experience of three sophomore English composition classes that were required to visit the reference desk for class credit was described and student perceptions of reference consultations were analyzed to gain a clearer understanding of the students' attitudes toward reference services.
Abstract: This paper describes the experience of three sophomore English composition classes that were required to visit the reference desk for class credit Student perceptions of reference consultations are analyzed to gain a clearer understanding of the students’ attitudes toward reference services Findings of this exploratory study indicate that students suffer from library anxiety and are much more likely to seek out reference help if they are convinced that a consultation will save them time

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Data compiled from webform transactions e-mailed to and from libraries via the Question-Point virtual reference service is analyzed to provide insight into how students and the general public use virtual reference services in various countries and how service efficiency differs among countries and library types.
Abstract: In an attempt to determine and compare the nature of virtual reference services in both academic and public libraries outside the United States, we analyzed data compiled from webform transactions e-mailed to and from libraries via the Question-Point virtual reference service. The study reviewed transactions that were handled during a typical week in April 2006 and in April 2008 by twenty-three libraries in ten countries: Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Mexico, the Netherlands, Slovenia, South Africa, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. We analyzed transactions by language, type of institution (public or academic), question type (access, bibliographic, or subject), answer type, subject, and response time, with attention to how these characteristics had changed in two years. The results of the study provide insight into how students and the general public use virtual reference services in various countries and how service efficiency differs among countries and library types.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors’ experience creating a social software policy and internal service guidelines at Georgia State University and on the results of an informal survey study that gauged academic librarians’ need for and awareness of such documents provide both reasoning and assistance for developing social software guidelines.
Abstract: Academic librarians have been using social software and networking sites for public services since they appeared on the Internet. While issues of privacy, identity management, and self-disclosure when using such technologies have been written about, very little critical attention has been paid to establishing policies or guidelines related to their use. This article is based on the authors’ experience creating a social software policy and internal service guidelines at Georgia State University and on the results of an informal survey study that gauged academic librarians’ need for and awareness of such documents. It provides both reasoning and assistance for developing social software guidelines that will protect service providers from violating the First Amendment and guide patron comment postings. Although the study was aimed at academic librarians, the findings and suggestions are relevant to any institution that offers services via social software.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Antell's experiences formed the basis of a successful continuing outreach program to students in university housing even after Antell was no longer living in the dormitory as mentioned in this paper, which was used to provide extensive library and educational programming for the students in her residence hall.
Abstract: Because of the proliferation of remote resources that allow users to complete research without visiting a library in person, many academic librarians have responded with outreach initiatives that extend library services to a variety of campus locations. Residence halls, however, have received little attention as an outreach venue despite the fact that most universities stress the importance of housing’s educational mission. In the three years that University of Oklahoma librarian Karen Antell lived as Faculty-in-Residence, she developed extensive library and educational programming for the students in her residence hall. These experiences formed the basis of a successful continuing outreach program to students in university housing even after Antell was no longer living in the dormitory. This article describes these programs and places them in the context of other institutions’ outreach efforts, identifying factors necessary for successful library outreach to residence halls

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the historical roots of ready reference collections and their recent evolution are explored, and the evolution of the ready reference collection has been discussed in detail, with a focus on the role of the reference desk in providing convenient access to information that is frequently used at the reference desks.
Abstract: Ready reference collections were originally formed, and still exist, because they perform a valuable function in providing convenient access to information that is frequently used at the reference desk. As library collections have been transformed from print to electronic, some of the materials in these collections also have inevitably been replaced by electronic resources. This article explores the historical roots of ready reference collections and their recent evolution.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The development of the subject encyclopedia as an information resource is reviewed and its present role, with particular focus on the academic library, is evaluated.
Abstract: This paper reviews the development of the subject encyclopedia as an information resource and evaluates its present role, with particular focus on the academic library. The paper looks especially at online subject encyclopedias and the extent to which academic libraries are facilitating and promoting access to these resources.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This article examined responses to this question from surveys conducted from 1976 to 2006 and analyzed for changes over time and for differences between demographic categories of respondents, finding that people support removing books containing racist beliefs from public libraries.
Abstract: When asked about a hypothetical book containing racist beliefs, do people support removing the book from their public library or not? The study examined responses to this question from surveys conducted from 1976 to 2006. Responses were analyzed for changes over time and for differences between demographic categories of respondents. Data were gathered by the General Social Survey, a well-respected social sciences data resource.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors present preliminary results from the implementation of the Virtual Notebook, a wiki-based ready reference technology at Purdue University, and discuss the tool’s future.
Abstract: Traditionally, library professionals have used a variety of ready reference technologies to assist in providing reference and user services. Technologies such as card files, vertical files, and reference notebooks are frequent components of library service desks. Ready reference technologies serve many purposes, most notably, helping staff to answer frequently asked questions and facilitating the sharing of information between library staff. This paper traces the development of the Virtual Notebook, a wiki-based ready reference technology, at Purdue University. The tool is placed within the historical context of ready reference technologies within the library profession and at Purdue. The authors present preliminary results from the implementation of the Virtual Notebook and discuss the tool’s future. The manuscript is an outgrowth of a presentation at the 2008 Brick and Click Symposium at Northwest Missouri State University.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The experiences of the Chicago Public Library during the Great Depression provide a fascinating case study of efforts to maintain a public service under trying circumstances as discussed by the authors, as well as the challenges faced by librarians.
Abstract: These are challenging times for libraries. Stories of budget cuts abound while librarians report rising demand for library services. (1) As we slash budgets and defer expenses, we may wonder how libraries coped during the Great Depression. Then, as now, library use increased sharply as millions of unemployed hunted for career information and sought light reading to fill their "enforced leisure" hours. (2) Librarians were forced to make difficult choices between services, staff, buildings, and books. Libraries responded by forging new partnerships with state and federal agencies and involving community residents in large-scale book drives. The experiences of the Chicago Public Library provide a fascinating case study of efforts to maintain a public service under trying circumstances. Chicago in the early 1930s was on the brink of collapse. As unemployment soared to ah estimated 30 percent, desperate workers took to the streets where they were met by tear gas and baton-wielding police. (3) The Chicago Public Library's financial fortunes declined rapidly. As early as January 1930, the library predicted a budget shortfall of 20 percent. The initial response included reducing library branch hours and laying off about one-fifth of the staff. Prominent progressive reformer Jane Addams evocatively captured the toll of this belt tightening. Writing to the library, she noted the unusually large number of men standing in the cold outside the Hull House library, unable to get in: "They stand looking through the windows into a warm room with a great air of protest which is not always silent." The library agreed to increase the reading room hours, but made no promises for the future, noting, "The unemployment conditions have increased our own work enormously in every part of the city. (4) Facing protests over reduced hours, the library reexamined its priorities. Branch hours were restored and many staff were rehired at reduced salaries. The collections budget would be the target for additional cuts. In May 1931 all book ordering was halted. Ah institution that normally expended $200,000 to $250,000 a year on collections simply stopped acquiring new materials. In a 1932 letter, the library director, Carl Roden, summarized the situation: "We are afflicted by the worst financial hardship we have ever suffered. We have bought no books for eight months, the magazine subscriptions for 1932 were cancelled.... No budget for the current year has been attempted and the prospects of funds for even our curtailed activities, are, at this writing, far from encouraging." (5) Some subscriptions were reinstated, but regular book purchasing would not resume for another four years. Despite eliminating new book purchases, the Chicago Public Library was besieged by new users. Branch libraries reported packed reading rooms. The army of unemployed came not just to forget, but also to learn--or, as the Chicago Tribune romantically expressed it, "to emerge out of the valley of depression and into the sunlit halls of the kingdom of thought. (6) While the service cuts drew immediate protests, the impact of the slashed book budget only gradually made itself felt. Without new books to entice readers, circulation eventually declined, dropping from 15.8 million in 1931 to 10.2 million in 1935. As one young patron put it, "Gosh, we can't read the same one more than three times."(7) While times are different, it's worth remembering that users attracted to the library during the current recession may drift away if we are unable to provide the resources and services they need. Although extreme, the circumstances in Chicago were not unusual. Detroit saw its library appropriation decline by 24 percent. Knoxvilles budget was slashed 36 percent in three years. Relatively fortunate cities such as Louisville and Springfield, Massachusetts reported salary cuts and other austerity measures,(8) How did public libraries cope? A 1932 survey identified two "compensating mechanisms" adopted by libraries: rental collections and calls for book donations. …

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: A theoretical framework for understanding the process of generating and storing knowledge from online reference service transactions is presented and a blueprint of adequate principles and guidelines for the development of online reference knowledge bases in the future is offered.
Abstract: This paper presents a theoretical framework for understanding the process of generating and storing knowledge from online reference service transactions. Since this terminology has not been sufficiently explored in scholarly work, this paper uses the phrase “online reference knowledge base” to denote a place for storing knowledge generated from online reference services. Apart from re-evaluating the current role of online reference knowledge bases through interviews with experts and practitioners who are most closely linked to online reference services, the paper attempts in the exploratory section to offer a blueprint of adequate principles and guidelines for the development of online reference knowledge bases in the future.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This exploratory study investigated the feasibility of using reference questions as an important tool in the construction of study guides, instructional outreach, and collection development at a small, four-year university in Lake Charles, Louisiana and reveals that this method of reference data classification and timely reporting provides an excellent reference for planning in these library departments.
Abstract: This exploratory study investigated the feasibility of using reference questions as an important tool in the construction of study guides, instructional outreach, and collection development at a small, four-year university in Lake Charles, Louisiana. The premise for the study was based on the assumption that the content of the reference question and class from which the question came provide more valuable information than the metadata normally captured within reference classification systems (e.g., directional, research). Reference question subjects received at the reference desk were recorded over six months by the reference staff. The authors then analyzed and classified the data to discover patterns in collection use. The resulting report was then disseminated to the reference, collection development, and instructional outreach departments. The findings reveal that this method of reference data classification and timely reporting provides an excellent reference for planning in these library departments.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors suggest more meaningful ways to use music to teach information literacy skills and demonstrate that incorporating music is an excellent means for adding interest, variability, and inquiry learning into IL instruction.
Abstract: The human body is composed of multiple sensory modalities, and each of them engages a different part of the brain when stimulated. A common assumption of learning theory is that individuals prefer some sensory paths over others for learning, hence the distinction between kinesthetic, verbal, visual, and aural learners. (1) Multiple intelligences and learning style theory suggest that teachers engage the widest variety of learners in the classroom by offering differentiated instruction using multiple sensory cues. Research also suggests that all learners benefit from multiple sensory stimuli in learning regardless of their learning preferences because the brain operates at its best in complex environments. We know the brain is "designed" to process many inputs at once--in fact, it actually prefers it so much, a slower linear pace actually reduces understanding. (2) Thus a differentiated learning environment that activates multiple sensory paths not only accommodates the particular learning preferences of individuals, it also enhances learning for everyone. Aural learners prefer learning through hearing. They are particularly receptive to auditory stimuli that involve tone, rhythm, and pitch. Recommendations for providing aural stimuli in the classroom often have been confined to using music as a memorization device (singing the alphabet, for example) or playing background music to enhance the general learning environment. This article will suggest more meaningful ways to use music to teach information literacy (IL) skills and demonstrate that incorporating music is an excellent means for adding interest, variability, and inquiry learning into IL instruction. EXTENDING CLASSROOM LEARNING WITH MUSIC Because of the constraints on information professionals' access to learners, IL instruction often occurs in brief, standalone sessions, sometimes called "one-shots" in the literature. (3) The one-shot instructional session is a convenient format conducive to the thinly stretched schedules of professors, librarians, and students; however, it has several drawbacks. Incorporating music into IL instruction may ameliorate some of those drawbacks by providing a creative and efficient means for stimulating an additional sensory path to engage the brain in learning. The first drawback of the one-shot session is time. The traditional fifty to seventy-five minutes allotted for instruction is hardly conducive to achieving complex IL learning outcomes. Kenny calls the one-shot a "trailer for the full-length feature ... the ultimate goal for a one-shot ... session is to have students actively engage with the librarians and library resources to provide a glimpse into the many ways the library supports student learning." (4) Librarians often find their teaching methods constrained by time and struggle to address IL beyond the skills-building level of training. A common cultural construct, such as music, is useful in providing starting points for analogy and metaphor building, which increases conceptual learning. While neither the instructor nor the students may have formally studied music, human beings are inherently musical. Studies have shown that rhythmic intelligence is the first of the intelligences to develop: The rhythm of the maternal heart beat and other external sounds, such as music, penetrate the womb and stimulate fetal response. (5) By the age of one, children of all cultural backgrounds engage in spontaneous singing (prior even to attaining language), and by age five they are already familiar with musical patterns and recognize when unexpected musical events occur. (6) Most students, even international students, have grown up surrounded by examples of Western music, from "Happy Birthday" to the international reach of pop music to the near-ubiquitous Christmas carols. By making connections to music, a subject with which students are already familiar, librarians help students extend their knowledge base more expediently. …


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Hollands as mentioned in this paper compiles and annotates more than eight hundred titles in this excellent resource for RA and collection development librarians and the readers they serve, including books, articles, websites, blogs, and databases.
Abstract: What would happen if you asked a group of readers' advisory (RA) librarians--ranging from some of the top experts in the field to sharp readers who recently graduated from library school--to handpick a collection of professional tools, including books, articles, websites, blogs, and databases? You would get an eclectic collection of hard-working titles and sites that serve the daily needs of on-the-desk staff, foundational texts that set the standards of the service, and idiosyncratic picks that seem to always provide inspiration. I found this out when I sent an e-mail to more than a dozen RA experts and asked them to work on this column. The only rules imposed to wrangle this process were that no one could pick their own work or work with which they are affiliated, and because of space limitations, once a title in a series was picked, that title would be the only book in the series included (but the selector could add a note to indicate the range of the entire series line). If I had endless space to devote to this topic, the column would consume the entire issue. RA librarians are a prolific and helpful lot and have produced a great deal of insightful writing. Library school professors teaching RA have written many seminal works we should all study. In short, there is far more excellent material available than can be covered in such limited space. In an effort to pack in as much as possible, however, choices in each section were limited, as were annotations. While every book is annotated, only the top five picks for articles, blogs, and websites are annotated in favor of including more choices. Terry Jacobsen selected the articles, winnowing down a huge list to a hard-selected fifteen. Lisa Fraser did the same tough work in selecting the websites, as did Sarah Statz Cords with blogs. Neil Hollands and Jacqueline Sasaki also pitched in with the blogs, both selecting and annotating several of the key selections. Joyce Saricks wrestled with the RA databases, providing a neat overview of the five main products. The books were selected by John Charles, Mary K. Chelton, Gwen Glazer, Cindy Orr, Joyce Saricks, Kaite Mediatore Stover, Barry Trott, Kimberly Wells, and David Wright.--Editor BOOKS Baker, Sharon L. and Karen L. Wallace. The Responsive Public Library: How to Develop and Market a Winning Collection. 2nd ed. Englewood, Colo.: Libraries Unlimited, 2002 (ISBN: 978-0-313-00897-9). One of the most useful works on the public library, this book is almost unknown to readers' advisors. It promotes the use of strategic planning techniques to anticipate demand and deliver client-centered service based on an accessible collection. The book is packed with practical information such as what elements affect user selections, research on arrangements of fiction collections, information on promotion and displays, and providing gracious RA service. It includes an impressive bibliography. Hollands, Neil. Read On ... Fantasy Fiction: Reading Lists for Every Taste. Westport, Conn.: Libraries Unlimited, 2007 (ISBN: 978-1-59158-330-1). Hollands compiles and annotates more than eight hundred titles in this excellent resource for RA and collection development librarians and the readers they serve. Listed by major appeal, titles are grouped by story, character, mood, setting, and language into quirky sublists. "Armageddon Out of Here: Fantasy's Furious Final Battles" is one example of the many reading lists provided. Hollands not only leads readers to new books (or old forgotten favorites) but gives the stumped librarian a place to find everything from culturally diverse titles to action-packed stories that will appeal to garners. Series Note: Hollands's book is part of the Read On series, which collects hundreds of titles into fun reading lists arranged by five areas of appeal (story, character, setting, mood, and language). Each book focuses on a genre or reading interest--crime fiction, women's fiction, horror, memoir, etc. …


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TL;DR: The most frequently asked questions of reference librarians are: "Where is the pencil sharpener?" and "How much do the copies cost?" (In the front lobby, and 5 cents).
Abstract: In this, my final column as RUSA President, l am taking some time to reflect on my career as a reference librarian. I guess you could say that I am probably in the declining years of my career. I am over fifty and have been a reference librarian since 1980--you do the math. So I wanted to reflect on some very basic questions, such as why did I became a reference librarian? what or who have been my greatest influences? and of course, what is the future of reference? THE MOST FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS--REDUX I have worked in the same library for twenty-seven years. When I first started, I told my students in my classes that there were three questions asked most frequently in the library So, to relieve their suspense, I would just tell them the answers. 1. Where is the pencil sharpener? (At the circulation desk.) 2. Where is the photocopier, and how much do the copies cost? (In the front lobby, and 5 cents.) 3. Where are the restrooms? (Go downstairs, turn left and left again.) Today, my most frequent questions are almost the same. The pencil sharpener question has been replaced by users needing assistance with printers. I still get asked about the photocopier costs, but the answer is more complicated: currently 15 cents after purchasing a copy card (40 cents) with a single dollar bill. The bathroom question and answer remains the same. After reading Lorraine J. Pellack's recent RUSQ editorial, First Impressions and Rethinking Restroom Questions, and the comments that her article generated on the RUSQ website (www.rusq.org) I agree that a polite, friendly, and quick response to this question is essential to forming positive impressions of your services. (1) WHY I BECAME A LIBRARIAN I became a librarian because I loved solitary studying in libraries while a college student. The library, as a place, was very comforting to me. As a child, I would go to the Norwalk Public Library--a Carnegie library--which still stands on Main Street in this Victorian town in Ohio. The library was right next to the AP it was a satisfying habit by then. They too gave me a carrel and I sought out reference librarians for assistance. They were mostly friendly. Do you remember, however, the way you felt as a library school student asking questions of reference librarians when you were taking your first reference courses? …