Collaborative Reference Desk Workstations


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Presentation delivered at the 2008 Mountain Plains Library Association meeting. This presentation evaluates different types of library reference service models.

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Collaborative Reference Desk Workstations

  1. 1. Alan W. Aldrich I. D. Weeks Library University of South Dakota
  2. 2. <ul><li>Analysis of different models of reference </li></ul><ul><li>Design of a collaborative workstation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Easily implemented </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Inexpensive </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Appreciated by patrons and librarians </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Multiple uses </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>Access Accuracy </li></ul><ul><li>Authority Individualism </li></ul><ul><li>Instruction Knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Timeliness Thoroughness </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>Structure + </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> Values = </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Outcomes </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>Traditional Reference Desk/Station </li></ul><ul><li>Teaching Library Model </li></ul><ul><li>Roving Reference </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>Physical desk or station </li></ul><ul><li>Computer workstation(s) </li></ul><ul><li>Synchronous in location </li></ul><ul><li>Synchronous in time </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>Access </li></ul><ul><li>Accuracy </li></ul><ul><li>Individualism </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Timeliness </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>Instruction is deemphasized </li></ul><ul><li>Thoroughness is deemphasized </li></ul><ul><li>Reference librarian as expert </li></ul><ul><li>Patron is dependent (Doherty, 2006). </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of co-browsing or collaboration </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of socially constructed knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of active learning </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>Computer equipped classroom </li></ul><ul><li>One workstation per student </li></ul><ul><li>Master workstation under control of librarian </li></ul><ul><li>Synchronous in time </li></ul><ul><li>Synchronous in place (physically) </li></ul><ul><li>Asynchronous in the search space </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>Authority </li></ul><ul><li>Critical Thinking </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Instruction </li></ul><ul><li>Thoroughness </li></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>Values of accuracy, timeliness, and individualism deemphasized </li></ul><ul><li>Control/expertise paradigm reinforced </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of socially constructed knowledge ala Vygotsky </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of active learning </li></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>Lack of a fixed desk or supplements a traditional reference point </li></ul><ul><li>Mobile devices to extend the reach of reference </li></ul><ul><li>Devices located near the stacks </li></ul><ul><li>Dedicated staffing </li></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>Access </li></ul><ul><li>Accuracy </li></ul><ul><li>Individualization </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Timeliness </li></ul>
  14. 14. <ul><li>Meeting patrons at the point of need </li></ul><ul><li>Meeting patrons at the place of need </li></ul><ul><li>Opportunities for collaboration i.e., co-browsing </li></ul><ul><li>Very short interactions </li></ul><ul><li>Need to pass patron off to a traditional reference desk </li></ul><ul><li>Instruction is deemphasized </li></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><li>Email reference </li></ul><ul><li>Instant Messenger (IM) reference </li></ul><ul><li>Chat reference </li></ul>
  16. 16. <ul><li>Asynchronous for location </li></ul><ul><li>Asynchronous for time </li></ul><ul><li>Loss of most communication channels </li></ul><ul><li>Loss of question negotiation (Pomerantz, 2005) </li></ul>
  17. 17. <ul><li>Access </li></ul><ul><li>Accuracy </li></ul><ul><li>Individualism </li></ul><ul><li>Timeliness </li></ul>
  18. 18. <ul><li>Can be a long delay </li></ul><ul><li>Good for questions </li></ul><ul><li>Not as good for detailed help due to asynchronous response times </li></ul><ul><li>Instruction not valued due to timeliness concerns </li></ul><ul><li>Thoroughness not always valued </li></ul>
  19. 19. <ul><li>Freeware or commercial software </li></ul><ul><li>Asynchronous for location </li></ul><ul><li>Synchronous for time </li></ul><ul><li>Loss of most communication channels </li></ul>
  20. 20. <ul><li>Access </li></ul><ul><li>Accuracy </li></ul><ul><li>Individualism </li></ul><ul><li>Timeliness </li></ul>
  21. 21. <ul><li>Immediate and real time interaction </li></ul><ul><li>Good for quick questions/short answers </li></ul><ul><li>Uses the tools younger patrons are familiar with </li></ul><ul><li>Interaction limited to only text, hypertext links, files, and emoticons </li></ul><ul><li>Question negotiation (Pomerantz, 2005) is limited </li></ul><ul><li>Instruction deemphasized </li></ul>
  22. 22. <ul><li>Asynchronous location </li></ul><ul><li>Synchronous communication </li></ul><ul><li>Some to many communication channels available </li></ul><ul><li>Shared interface </li></ul>
  23. 23. <ul><li>Access </li></ul><ul><li>Accuracy </li></ul><ul><li>Individualism </li></ul><ul><li>Instruction(facilitated by the structure) </li></ul><ul><li>Thoroughness </li></ul>
  24. 24. <ul><li>Can enable co-browsing </li></ul><ul><li>Immediate and real time interaction </li></ul><ul><li>Potential for real collaboration and interactive learning </li></ul><ul><li>High costs of software and training </li></ul><ul><li>Dual staffing - need to have chat ref separate from the physical reference desk (Pomerantz, 2005). </li></ul>
  25. 25. <ul><li>to facilitate instruction? </li></ul><ul><li>that is simple? </li></ul><ul><li>that is inexpensive? </li></ul><ul><li>that is practical? </li></ul><ul><li>that supports the values of reference? </li></ul>
  26. 26. <ul><li>Doherty, J. (2006). Reference interview or reference dialog? Internet Reference Services Quarterly, 11 (3), 97-109. </li></ul><ul><li>Pomerantz, J.(2005). A conceptual framework and open research questions for chat-based reference service. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 56 (12), 1288-1302. </li></ul><ul><li>Tyckoson, D. A. (2001). What is the best model of reference service? Library Trends, 50 (2), 183-196. </li></ul>