Show interest “Wow! Interesting topic.” “Oh boy, tough topic.”
Informal Language, avoiding robotic instruction “Hi!” vs. “Hello” “I suggest you try Eric” vs. “Select a periodical index” “Let’s start with a subject search in the catalog..” vs. “Consult our catalog…”
Don’t call patron on their own misspelling, or at least do so tactfully.
Lower case typing is faster, which allows for quicker transaction time during chat.
Don’t be overly interrogative “Is this for an undergrad or grad class?” “Do you need a scholarly article, or just any kind of magazine article?” “What kind of information?” “How will you be using this information?”
Don’t always have to wait for a response before sending another question or piece of information.
Patron: Everytime I try to print my article only the first page prints. Help!!! Librarian: Hi, there! Are you getting the article from a library database or the internet? Patron: The text is also way small. Librarian: Yeesh, that is frustrating. Patron: From the database called JSTOR Librarian: Is it in PDF format? Patron: It is! I’ve tried everything!
“It borders on the fatuous to propose that technology can be empolyed to provide a satisfactory alternative to nuances of the interaction between librarian and user.” (M. Gorman) Instruction
How can I convey complex instruction through a chat/SMS interface?
The transition of reference librarian from question answerer to librarian as teacher/learning facilitator. Desai, Christina and Stephanie J. Graves. Instruction via Instant Messaging reference: what’s happening?. 2006.
Confusion between librarians as contentexperts versus process experts. Lankes, David. New Concepts in Digital Reference. 2009
Modeling: Here’s the information you need and here’s how I got it. Resource suggestion Terms suggestion Leading: step-by-step Lessons: library terminology (peer review)
Instructional Techniques Desai, Christina and Stephanie J. Graves. Instruction via Instant Messaging reference: what’s happening?
Should the librarian provide instruction when the patron hasn’t asked for it?
Leading: Start by giving them a carrot Provide a brief immediate answer, then introduce instruction with a follow-up. Librarian: Here’s a book on creative learning in early childhood. CREATIVE LEARNING IN PRIMARY SCHOOL http://bit.ly/9n5ajG Patron: Ok, thanks I’ll take a look. Librarian: To find more, I would recommend browsing the other books on the shelf next to it. Librarian: You can also do a keyword search in our online catalog using “creative learning” Patron: How do I get to the online catalog ?
Short step-by-step instruction Don’t overwhelm them with too much info. Pause to ask them if they have received a page you pushed or have located a box on the page, etc. Librarian: Have you logged into Academic Search Complete? Patron: No, not yet. Patron: k, I’m there. Librarian: Ok, now type in your search terms… Librarian: You might want to try something like Librarian: “juvenile diabetes” and nutrition Librarian: Be sure to include the quotes around juvenile diabetes, it will really help the search. Librarian: Then select the box next to where it says Full Text. Now you’re ready to search! Librarian: How did that work for you?
On the spot screencast http://www.screentoaster.com
Desai, Christina M., and Stephanie J. Graves. "Instruction via Instant Messaging reference: what's happening." electronic Library 24, no. 24 (2006): 174-189. http://proquest.umi.com (accessed June 15, 2010). Fagan, Jody Condit, and Christina M. Desai. "Communication Strategies for Instant Messaging and Chat Reference Services." The Reference Librarian 38, no. 79 (2003): 121-155. Hill, J.B., Cherie Madarash Hill, and Dayne Sherman. "Text Messaging in an Academic Library: Integrating SMS into Digital Reference." The Reference Librarian 47, no. 97 (2007): 17-29. Lankes, David. "Scapes Video." Virtual Dave...Real Blog.. http://quartz.syr.edu/rdlankes/blog/?p=460 (accessed June 15, 2010). Lankes, R. David. New Concepts in Digital Reference (Synthesis Lectures on Information Concepts, Retrieval & Services). San Rafael: Morgan And Claypool Publishers, 2009.
Photo Credit Slide 1: Image courtesy of isolethetv on Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/istolethetv/519756811/