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Judith Schwartz/QuestionPoint Use Study at Hunter College
Judith Schwartz/QuestionPoint Use Study at Hunter College
Judith Schwartz/QuestionPoint Use Study at Hunter College
Judith Schwartz/QuestionPoint Use Study at Hunter College
Judith Schwartz/QuestionPoint Use Study at Hunter College
Judith Schwartz/QuestionPoint Use Study at Hunter College
Judith Schwartz/QuestionPoint Use Study at Hunter College
Judith Schwartz/QuestionPoint Use Study at Hunter College
Judith Schwartz/QuestionPoint Use Study at Hunter College
Judith Schwartz/QuestionPoint Use Study at Hunter College
Judith Schwartz/QuestionPoint Use Study at Hunter College
Judith Schwartz/QuestionPoint Use Study at Hunter College
Judith Schwartz/QuestionPoint Use Study at Hunter College
Judith Schwartz/QuestionPoint Use Study at Hunter College
Judith Schwartz/QuestionPoint Use Study at Hunter College
Judith Schwartz/QuestionPoint Use Study at Hunter College
Judith Schwartz/QuestionPoint Use Study at Hunter College
Judith Schwartz/QuestionPoint Use Study at Hunter College
Judith Schwartz/QuestionPoint Use Study at Hunter College
Judith Schwartz/QuestionPoint Use Study at Hunter College
Judith Schwartz/QuestionPoint Use Study at Hunter College
Judith Schwartz/QuestionPoint Use Study at Hunter College
Judith Schwartz/QuestionPoint Use Study at Hunter College
Judith Schwartz/QuestionPoint Use Study at Hunter College
Judith Schwartz/QuestionPoint Use Study at Hunter College
Judith Schwartz/QuestionPoint Use Study at Hunter College
Judith Schwartz/QuestionPoint Use Study at Hunter College
Judith Schwartz/QuestionPoint Use Study at Hunter College
Judith Schwartz/QuestionPoint Use Study at Hunter College
Judith Schwartz/QuestionPoint Use Study at Hunter College
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Judith Schwartz/QuestionPoint Use Study at Hunter College

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This presentation is a "QuestionPoint Use Study" for Hunter college conducted during the spring of 2011. My research includes a statistical analysis of 500 virtual reference transcripts during a three …

This presentation is a "QuestionPoint Use Study" for Hunter college conducted during the spring of 2011. My research includes a statistical analysis of 500 virtual reference transcripts during a three month period of online transactions at Hunter College's Wexler Library, New York.

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  • 1. An Explorative Evaluationof Chat Reference ServicesJudith SchwartzSummer 2011
  • 2. IntroductionThe focus of this research is mainly onchat-based reference in academic libraries. • Online chat reference is also referred to as: “virtual, real-time, synchronous, and live chat” (Johnson, 2004).
  • 3. IntroductionGoalsThe purpose is to give a more accurate accounting ofthe effectiveness of chat reference at Hunter. • Evaluating 3 months of Ask-a-Librarian transcripts at Hunter: • will identify types of questions students are asking • will lead to additional subject specific library instruction • Find ways to increase students awareness of the service • Evaluate areas of the Hunter library website to be improved
  • 4. Motivational BackgroundHunter College Results/May 2011 CUNY Cooperative Answering percentage increased to 76% in 2010 2008 • 16% 2009 • 19% 2010 • 76%
  • 5. Literature ReviewThe literature focuses on similar themes evolvedfrom library research studies including: • Awareness and access • Barriers • Types of reference questions • Privacy concerns
  • 6. Literature ReviewAwareness and access: exploration of ways toincrease chat patron usage in academic libraries.• Marketing, outreach, and chat widgets • Findings revealed that the majority of participants were uninformed about chat, telephone, and email (Naylor et al., 2008) • Strategic placement of chat widgets is crucial (Bedwell, 2008) • Contact pages • OPACs • LibGuides • Databases
  • 7. Literature ReviewBarriers: Exploration of issues. • why the numbers are down • questions whether it is a viable reference tool “Reference librarians have responded to chat reference in various ways, from feeling it is the most exciting development in reference work, to being overrated” (Lee, 2004).
  • 8. Literature ReviewBarriers • Virtual interaction has been described as a “fleeting encounter.” • No patron/reference librarian relationship development (Radford, 2006). • Patrons are unaware of available chat services (Johnson, 2004). • Patrons terminate sessions due to impatience (Lee, 2004). • Poor technology to accomplish the reference interview (Lee, 2004). • The same question takes about half as long to answer over the phone as it does in chat (Coffman & Arret, 2004).
  • 9. Literature ReviewTypes of reference questions • Auburn University, AL. reports one-third of its questions have been “specific search questions,” a little less than a quarter are ready-reference, and one was a “research question.” All the rest are directional, policy, instructional or technical (Janes, 2002). • Chat reference is best suited for directional or policy questions that can be answered relatively quickly and with few text characters” (Naylor et al., 2008).
  • 10. Literature ReviewUse of closed and clarifying questions• Students are seeking information related to imposed queriesassigned by their instructor (Gross, 1999). • Librarians should ask closed or clarifying questions when appropriate. • Librarians should type twice as many characters as the patron. • At the end of session, ask: “does this completely answer your question?”(Radford et al., 2011).
  • 11. Literature ReviewMotivation • Librarians believe that users with detailed research questions are poorly served by digital reference (Johnson, 2004). • Studies have concluded that users use chat because it’s convenient, not that they are in a hurry (Radford et al., 2011).
  • 12. Literature ReviewDuring chat transactions, recommendations for recreating a moreinterpersonal experience would be: (Radford 2006) • going off of scripts • mirroring of emoticons • using informal languageReasons to stay with virtual reference are: (Lee, 2004)• keep current with innovative technology• keep up with the needs of students• remain current with other academic institutions
  • 13. Literature ReviewPrivacy concernsA portion of chat sessions need to be followed upby email. Anonymous users = no follow-up• Reasons for anonymity are: • In an MIT study, they revealed that students felt chat reference was invasive, and some were concerned about asking “stupid questions” (Naylor et al., 2008). • “Patrons are afraid they will be negatively evaluated by a librarian, appearing unprofessional, or having reference transcripts revealed to professors” (Connaway et al., 2007). • Librarians are nervous that transcripts will be used unfairly for performance evaluation (Johnson, 2004).
  • 14. Literature ReviewSeeking Synchronicity results can help an academic institutionpromote their Virtual Reference Services by: • Increase marketing to make it more visible • Highlight the convenience of the service (available anywhere with web accessibility 24/7) • Increase the availability of instruction and tutorials • Integrate VRS into library use instruction programs and courseware • Improve librarian’s skills in fostering virtual relationships • Involve teachers in promoting and recommending the service to students • Publicize VRS as a private and confidential serviceOCLC and Rutgers, conducted studies of virtual reference services (VRS)through “Seeking Synchronicity,” a two-year project funded by an IMLSgrant.(Connaway et al., 2007)
  • 15. Data Collection TechniquesQuantitative research • Log Data Analysis drawing a sample of the MONTHS March = Midterms chat reference logs from a three-month period May = Widget June = Finals March, May, and June 2011 • Online survey 10-15 questions (see appendix) • Demographic info gender, education level, and language ability • Awareness of chat reference services • Location of usage and time of day • Preferable methods would patrons consider SMS (text) over chat?
  • 16. Method/MeasureThe evaluation of services includes operational definitionsfor example: Was the question answered or did it need a follow up or referral? Categories include: • Efficiency • Privacy issues • Access • Types of questions • Completion of service • Subject specificity
  • 17. Method/Measure• Efficiency is measured by session waiting and completion time: • waiting time starts when the query is submitted • ends when the librarian responds to it• Privacy issues are categorized as: • patron gave their email address • logged on anonymously• Access is categorized as how the patron accessed chat reference to ask their question: • widget • no widget
  • 18. Method/Measure• Type of questions are categorized into three types: • reference, ready-reference, and directional • complexity of question usually defines the need for a reference interview• Completion of service refers to questions answered: • session ended abruptly • any follow-up required • referral necessary• Subject specific data was collected in the following areas: • Social work, and Health Sciences • Style guides: students asked for help with their citations or Refworks questions.
  • 19. Procedure for Gathering Data
  • 20. Procedure for Gathering Data
  • 21. Results: Hunter College May 2011 • Reference - 55% • Ready Reference - 20% • Directional - 25% Completion of service • Answered - 57% • Ended - 18% • Follow-up - 19% • Referred - 6%
  • 22. Results: Hunter College 2011- 3 months Depth of the question is an interpretation by the researcher as to whether the question is simple or complex. • A more complex question usually leads to a reference interview.
  • 23. Results: Hunter College March 2011
  • 24. Limitation and Future WorkMore in-depth analysisA complete year should be analyzed for a more accurate reading. • The widget was first introduced on May 15, 2011. Additional months of study would give a better indication of whether there was an increase in users. • Reviewing Directional Questions and answers to identify where improvements are necessary. A pattern of similar questions with weak answers are: - CLICs - Interlibrary loans - Metro passes - Reserves - Policies page procedures
  • 25. Limitation and Future WorkThoughts on the future of reference services• Explore additional areas of VRS such as SMS, video chat, and co-browsing. “New media—chat, texting, mobile devices, Twitter, etc., may not be ideal in answering complex questions, but they will often be the media that our patrons prefer”(Frantz & Westra, 2010)
  • 26. ConclusionExpectations from results specific to Hunter College VRS • Marketing: promote chat reference services at Hunter more aggressively • Accessibility: Strategic placement of widgets to additional pages • Identify subject areas where additional library skills training is needed • Promote LibGuides • Make them more prominent • Add chat widgets to LibGuides • Chat Privacy Policy Page • Enhancing web wayfinding systems and policy page • This may reduce directional questions and enable librarians to help patrons more efficiently • identify barriers and explore ways to improve services
  • 27. Appendix - SurveyOnline Chat Reference Usage Survey QuestionsPlease fill out this survey about Reference Services at Hunter College library and we will enter your name in a drawing to win an iPod touch!1. Which one of the following describes you?___Undergraduate Student___Graduate Student___University Faculty___Alumni___Other2. Gender___Male___Female3. Is English your first language?___Yes___NoIf not, what is it? ______________4. Which of the following library reference services have you used at Hunter College?___Asked a question in person at the reference desk___Face to Face Consultation, (made an appointment with a reference librarian)___Phoned the reference desk and spoke with a librarian.___Emailed a question to the reference librarian and waited for a reply.___Online Chat Reference 24/7 (chatted with a reference librarian online about your question)5. Are you aware that your campus library offers online Chat Reference?___Yes___No
  • 28. Survey6. If you are aware of Online Chat reference at Hunter College, where did you learn about it?___Library website___From a classmate, friend or relative___Through an electronic discussion list/email announcement___A library instruction classOther (please specify) ______________7. What location would you be using Online Chat Reference__While in the Hunter Library__From Home8. During which one of the time slots would you most likely use Online Chat reference__midnight – 8am__8am-noon__5pm-9pm__9pm-midnight__never9. How do you rate online chat? 1 is worst and 5 is best.1 2 3 4 510. Besides Hunter, what other city college libraries have you accessed online?__Baruch__CUNY__Queens__BMCC__Brooklyn College__NoneOther (please specify) ______________
  • 29. Survey11. What would your first choice of reference be at Hunter College Library?__Online chat reference__Face to Face__Phone__email12. Please rate your reference experience at Hunter College. Do you feel your reference questions have been answered effectively? 1 isworst and 5 is best.1 2 3 4 5 n/aOnline chat referenceFace to FacePhoneemail13. Do you think Online Chat Reference can answer your reference questions equally as well as Face-to -Face reference? Please explain.____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________14. Would you consider text messages over chat reference?___Yes___No15. In your opinion, as technology makes more information accessible, students will need LESS human help in doing research for theirprojects and papers.___True___False
  • 30. ContactInfo@judithstudio.comJudith Schwartz, New Yorkhttp://www.linkedin.com/in/judithschwartz

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