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Using Virtual Reference Services to Embed the Library in the Academic Workflow

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Presented at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Departmento de Biblioteconomía y Documentación, May 16, 2014, Madrid, Spain.

Presented at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Departmento de Biblioteconomía y Documentación, May 16, 2014, Madrid, Spain.

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  • 1. 16 May 2014 UC3M, Virtual Reference Course Using Virtual Reference Services to Embed the Library in the Academic Workflow Lynn Silipigni Connaway, Ph.D. Senior Research Scientist OCLC Chair of Excellence Departmento de Biblioteconomía y Documentación Universidad Carlos III de Madrid @LynnConnaway and connawal@oclc.org
  • 2. Then & Now • Then: The user built workflow around the library • Now: The library must build its services around user workflow • Then: Resources scarce, attention abundant • Now: Attention scarce, resources abundant (Dempsey, 2008)
  • 3. Virtual Reference Services • Global reach • Anytime/anywhere access • Cooperative services may reduce costs
  • 4. • Funded by IMLS, OCLC, & Rutgers University • Four phases: • Focus group interviews • Analysis of 850 QuestionPoint live chat transcripts • Online surveys • 137 VRS Users • 173 VRS Librarians • 134 VRS Potential Users • Telephone interviews • 76 VRS Users • 100 VRS Librarians • 107 VRS Potential Users Seeking Synchronicity: Evaluating Virtual Reference Services from User, Potential User, & Librarian Perspectives
  • 5. Seeking Synchronicity: Evaluating Virtual Reference Services from User, Potential User & Librarian Perspectives • Studied habits & needs of virtual reference service (VRS) librarians, users, & potential users to identify characteristics for informing library system & service development • Generalizable through large sample sizes, multiple methods of data collection, & triangulation of results (Radford & Connaway, 2005-2008)
  • 6. Seeking Synchronicity Phases Phase II: • Transcript Analysis • 850 Question Point live chat transcripts Phase III: • Telephone Interviews • 100 VRS Librarians • 76 VRS Users • 107 VRS Potential Users Phase IV: • Online Surveys • 173 VRS Librarians • 137 VRS Users • 134 VRS Potential Users Phase I: • Focus Group Interviews (Radford & Connaway, 2005-2008)
  • 7. • Funded by IMLS, OCLC, & Rutgers University • Three phases: • Analysis of 560 QuestionPoint chat transcripts and 1000 Q&A pairs from Yahoo! Answers • Telephone interviews • 48 QP/SQA live chat users • 50 VRS librarians • Design sessions • 17 participants Cyber Synergy: Seeking Sustainability Through Collaboration Between Virtual Reference and Social Q&A Sites
  • 8. Transcript Analysis
  • 9. Average Wait Time Cyber Synergy • Total Average Wait Time: 1.12 minutes • Total Average Session Time: 18.77 minutes Seeking Synchronicity • Total Average Wait Time: 1.87 minutes • Total Average Session Time: 12.42 minutes (Radford, Connaway, & Shah, 2011-2013) (Radford & Connaway, 2008)
  • 10. Types of Questions
  • 11. What politician supports gay rights and or is an activist for them QP2-282 how many books can i check out at one time? QP2-276 How do I get a job and what are the requirements? QP2-274 I need some help with finding articles QP2-273 I need a good website all about the history of DESIGN of telephones with a timeline and good pictures with it. QP2-269 Cannot log in, telling me authentication failed. Was able to log in yesterday. QP2-269 (Radford & Connaway, 2005-2008)
  • 12. Types of VR Questions • Subject Search • Ready Reference • Procedural • No Question • Holdings • Research • Inappropriate • Directional • Reader’s Advisory (Arnold & Kaske, 2002,2005)
  • 13. 32% 293 27% 243 18% 162 11% 104 8% 77 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% Subject Search Ready Reference Procedural No Question Holdings Query Type: 2004-2006 '04 - '06 (n = 915)
  • 14. 31% 179 31% 181 17% 97 9% 49 4% 25 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% Ready Reference Procedural Subject Search Holdings No Question Query Type: 2010 '10 (n=575)
  • 15. 32% 293 27% 243 18% 162 11% 104 8% 77 17% 97 31% 179 31% 181 4% 25 9% 49 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% Subject Search Ready Reference Procedural No Question Holdings Query Type: 2004-2006 vs. 2010 '04 - '06 (n = 915) '10 (n = 575)
  • 16. 28% 45 21% 34 36% 59 12% 20 2% 4 40% 68 39% 65 20% 33 1% 1 1% 1 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% 45% Consortium Academic & Law Public National Other Ready Reference Questions (2004-2006 vs. 2010) Received by Type of Chat Service '04-'06 (n=162) '10 (n=168)
  • 17. Accuracy in Ready Reference
  • 18. Accuracy in VR Ready Reference • How accurate are VR librarians/staff in answering ready reference questions? • Do we see the 55% rule in effect? (Hernon & McClure, 1987)
  • 19. • Ready reference accuracy in VRS has increased from 75% to 90%. (Radford, Connaway, & Shah, 2011-2013) Accuracy in VR Ready Reference
  • 20. Ready Reference Accuracy: 2004-2006 vs. 2010 78% 141 20% 36 2% 3 90% 151 4% 7 6% 100% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% Correct Incorrect Other Ready Reference Accuracy: 2004-2006 vs. 2010 '04 - '06 (n=180) '10 (n = 168)
  • 21. 34% 68 14% 28 13% 26 11% 21 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% Too complex Lack of information Relatedness Ambiquity SQA (N=200) SQA Transcript Analysis: Unanswered Questions
  • 22. Telephone Interviews and Surveys
  • 23. Critical Incident Technique (CIT) for Telephone Interviews & Survey • Flanagan (1954) • Qualitative technique • Focuses on most memorable event/experience • Allows categories or themes to emerge rather than be imposed (Flanagan, 1954)
  • 24. Critical Incident Technique (CIT) for Telephone Interviews & Survey VR Users’ & Librarians’ Questions • Remember 1 specific successful VRS interaction • Remember 1 specific unsuccessful VRS interaction • Describe each interaction • Identify factors that made interactions successful or unsuccessful
  • 25. Two Views of What’s Effective in VR Experiences Users: • Convenience • Comfort with service • Accuracy • Positive attitude • Good communication skills • Relationships with librarians Librarians: • Ability to leverage complex & specialized knowledge • Positive attitudes, responses, & feedback • VR tools & hybrid communication modes • Relationships with users
  • 26. “Instantaneous help. Sometimes if you're looking for something and you can't find it, it takes forever. Since you have someone there that can respond to you live, you have the comfort that someone is there.” (Cyber Synergy, VS47, Age 26-34, Male, Sales Account Manager) 27
  • 27. “I'll use ask-a-librarian if it's the night before my project and the library's closed. When my other options fail, basically.” (Cyber Synergy, VS45, Female, Age 19-25, Student) 28
  • 28. VRS & SQA User Interviews: Finding What is Needed 6%, 3 36%, 20 58%, 32 1 Rarely 2 3 4 5 Very often When you search, how often can you usually find what you need?
  • 29. VRS & SQA User Interviews: Searching the Web 16%, 9 26%, 14 20%, 11 38%, 21 Occasionally 1-3 searches per day 4-6 searches per day 7-10 searches per day More than 10 searches per day How often do you search the web?
  • 30. VRS Librarians: Ideal System • Information easy to find • Interface easy to use • Results arrive quickly • Experts available • Searchable previous questions (Radford, Connaway, & Shah, 2011-2013)
  • 31. Why Not Virtual Reference? • What we learned from potential users: • Preference for FtF service • Do not know service exists • Unknown or unfamiliar format (Radford & Connaway, 2005-2008)
  • 32. Two Views of What’s Not Effective in VR Experiences Users: • Abrupt, dismissive answers • Grumpy, ill-informed or uninterested librarians • Poor wrap-up • Limiting time of session • Being sent to Google • Failing or refusing to provide info Librarians: • Convoluted & confusing questions • Rude, impatient &/or disappearing users • Unrealistic expectations • Unreceptive to suggestions
  • 33. What We Learned
  • 34. Convenience is King • Convenience dictates choices • Is it readily accessible online? • Does it contain the needed information & is it easy to use? • How much time will it take to access and use the source? • Is it a familiar interface and easily navigable interface? • Google and Wikipedia (Connaway, Dickey, & Radford, 2011)
  • 35. Barriers to Convenience • Difficulty of library systems • Print articles • Limited hours, distance to library
  • 36. “The convenience is still better online than in person, you don’t have to make trips to the library.” (Seeking Synchronicity, UTI-24, Male, Age 15-18)
  • 37. What We Can Do
  • 38. Recommendations to Boost Convenience • Critically evaluate sources • Develop customized widgets • Provide services in different formats • Be available to the users • Face-to-face • Online • Email • Text Messaging • IM • Mobile • Telephone • Social Media Services
  • 39. Recommendations to Boost Convenience • Deliver resources 24/7 • Integrate library tools in popular sites • Provide links & reminders • Accommodate different & personalized discovery & access preferences • Provide opportunities for collaboration • Offer help at time of need • Chat/IM on library • Web site • Online catalog
  • 40. Market VRS • Market & publicize services • Don’t know what is available • Text • Email • Chat • Phone • Face-to-face • Facebook • Skype (Radford & Connaway, 2010)
  • 41. Recommendations: Attract Potential Users Introduce & demonstrate online alternatives during in-person reference sessions, library use instruction classes & library programs
  • 42. Recommendations: Attract Potential Users • Searchable archives • “Answerer” profile and history • Require users to provide information about themselves • Question administration/quality control • User customization • Wait time notification • Fun and easy • Aesthetics • Time of need • Hybrid (SQA and VR) (Radford, Connaway, & Shah, 2011-2013)
  • 43. Recommendations: Develop Relationships • Ask open questions • Portray positive attitude • Provide specific & accurate answers • Take your time • Pay attention to “close” • Always be pleasant & polite • Clarify questions
  • 44. Conclusions • It’s all about the relationships • Death of ready reference exaggerated • To boost accuracy • Clarify question • Answer specific question • Convenience is the hook • Marketing matters
  • 45. Lynn Connaway connawal@oclc.org Questions & Discussion Lynn Silipigni Connaway connawal@oclc.org
  • 46. References Arnold, J., & Kaske, N. (2002). Real time interactive reference service: Chat with a librarian. 17th Annual Computers in Libraries Annual 2002, March 13-15. Arnold, J., & Kaske, N. (2005). Evaluating the quality of a chat service. portal: Libraries and the Academy, 5(2), 177- 193. Clark, C. (2012, March 12). Social media: Information networks are vital to success. Financial Times. Retrieved from http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/0e97b7a0-6389-11e1-9686-00144feabdc0.html Connaway, L. S., & Dickey, T. J. (2010). Digital information seekers: Report of findings from selected OCLC, RIN, and JISC user behavior projects. Retrieved from http://www.jisc.ac.uk/media/documents/publications/reports/2010/digitalinformationseekerreport.pdf Connaway, L. S., Dickey, T. J., & Radford, M. L. (2011). “If it is too inconvenient I’m not going after it:” Convenience as a critical factor in information-seeking behaviors. Library & Information Science Research, 33(3),179-190. Connaway, L. S., Lewis, J. S., Alexander, S., Du, Y., Eden, B., Petersohn, B., Proffitt, M., & Salisbury, L. (2012). 2012 top ten trends in academic libraries: A review of the trends and issues affecting academic libraries in higher education. College & Research Libraries News, 73(6), 311-320. Retrieved from http://crln.acrl.org/content/73/6/311.full Connaway, L. S., Prabha, C., & Dickey, T. J. (2006). Sense-making the information confluence: The whys and hows of college and university user satisficing of information needs. Phase III: Focus group interview study. Report on National Leadership Grant LG-02-03-0062-03, to Institute of Museum and Library Services, Washington, D.C. Columbus, Ohio: School of Communication, The Ohio State University. Retrieved from http://web.archive.org/web/20100213164444/http://imlsosuoclcproject.jcomm.ohio-state.edu/imls_reports_list.html Connaway, L. S., & Radford, M. L. (2011). Seeking Synchronicity: Revelations and recommendations for virtual reference. Dublin, OH: OCLC Research. Retrieved from http://www.oclc.org/reports/synchronicity/default.htm Connaway, L. S., & Radford, M. L. (2012). Extending our virtual reach: A longitudinal study of query type & accuracy in live chat & IM reference [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from http://www.oclc.org/research/activities/synchronicity/ppt/alise2012.pptx
  • 47. References Connaway, L. S., White, D., & Lanclos, D. (2011). Visitors and residents: What motivates engagement with the digital environment? Proceedings of the 74th ASIS&T Annual Meeting, Volume 48. Silver Spring, MD: Richard B. Hill. Dempsey, L. (2008). Always on: Libraries in a world of permanent connectivity. First Monday, 14(1). Retrieved from http://www.firstmonday.org/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/2291/207 De Rosa, C. (2005). Perceptions of libraries and information resources: A report to the OCLC membership. Dublin, OH: OCLC Online Computer Library Center. Retrieved from http://www.oclc.org/reports/2010perceptions/2010perceptions_all_singlepage.pdf DeSantis, N. (2012, January 6). On Facebook, librarian brings 2 students from the early 1900s to life. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/on-facebook-librarian-brings-two- students-from-the-early-1900s-to-life/34845 Flanagan, J. C. (1954). The critical incident technique. Washington: American Psychological Association. Hernon, P., & McClure, C. R. (1987). Unobtrusive testing and library reference services. Norwood, NJ: Ablex Publishing. Radford, M. L., & Connaway, L. S. (2005–2008). Seeking Synchronicity: Evaluating virtual reference services from user, non-user, and librarian perspectives. Funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). http://www.oclc.org/research/activities/synchronicity/default.htm Radford, M. L., & Connaway, L. S. (2008). Getting better all the time: Improving communication & accuracy in virtual reference. Presented at the Reference Renaissance: Current and Future Trends, August 4-5, 2008, Denver, Colorado. Radford, M. L. & Connaway, L. S. (2008). Seeking Synchronicity: Evaluating virtual reference service from user, non- user, and librarian perspectives. IMLS Final Performance Report. Retrieved from: http://www.oclc.org/research/activities/synchronicity/reports/20080626-final.pdf Radford, M. L., & Connaway, L. S. (2010). “I stay away from the unknown, I guess.” Measuring impact and understanding critical factors for Millennial Generation and adult non-users of virtual reference services. Online proceedings of the Fifth Annual iConference, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, February 3-6, 2010. http://nora.lis.uiuc.edu/images/iConferences/2010papers2_Page-Zhang.pdf
  • 48. References Radford, M. L., Connaway, L. S., & Shah, C. (2011-2013). Cyber synergy: Seeking sustainability through collaboration between virtual reference and social Q&A sites. Funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). http://www.oclc.org/research/activities/synergy/default.htm Radford, M. L., Connaway, L. S., & Shah, C. (2013). Cyber synergy: Seeking sustainability through collaboration between virtual reference and social Q&A sites. IMLS Interim Performance Report: October 31, 2013. Retrieved from http://www.oclc.org/content/dam/research/activities/synergy/reports/cyber-synergy-imls-interim-report-2013- 10-31.pdf Ranganathan, S. R. (1957). The five laws of library science. London: G. Blunt and Sons. Roderer, N. K. (2012, January 16). From books and buildings to information and services. OCLC Distinguished Seminar Series. Retrieved from http://player.multicastmedia.com/player.php?p=j1v57etx Wasserman, S. (2012, June 18). The Amazon effect. The Nation. Retrieved from http://www.thenation.com/article/168125/amazon-effect