Boise State University
ScholarWorks
Library Faculty Publications and Presentations The Albertsons Library
2-23-2011
Refere...
Reference Is Neither Here Nor There
A New Point of Need for Libraries
Amy Vecchione, Assistant Professor/Librarian, Boise ...
Amy Vecchione
Assistant Professor/Librarian
Boise State University
@librarythinking
amyvecchione@boisestate.edu
Margie Rup...
72% of adults with
cell phones send and
receive text
messages
“SMS services are an
opportunity to reach new
users; reference is neither here
nor there”
Competitors
Google
Answers
466453
KGB
542542
(fee)
ChaCha
242242
Google Answers
How many slices of bacon are in a package?
Google Answers
How many slices of bacon are in a package?
Sorry, “how many slices o…’ did not return
any results
KGB
$0.99 per question asked
KGB
Not available for all plans
Human powered answers
Flawed answers
Cha Cha
$0.99 per question asked
Does your library offer SMS reference?
Percentage of Respondents
N=231
Offering SMS
Reference
43%
Not offering SMS
Reference
43%
Not now, but
plan to soon
13%
What are they
asking?
Why are freshmen required to take a
library oreintation?
Why are freshmen required to take a
library oreintation?
To help acquaint students with the resources
available at an acad...
on average how many slices of bacon
are in a package...
on average how many slices of bacon are
in a package...
Cooks Illustrated says that regular sliced 1/16th
of an inch usual...
How late is the library open? [BSU
Broncos]
How late is the library open? [BSU
Broncos]
until midnight! w00t!
Do you have any books about
constucting poems?
Do you have any books about
constucting poems?
Lots! 3rd floor PN1042-PN1064.
Who was the first U.S. President to
meet the Pope?
Who was the first U.S. President to
meet the Pope?
The first U.S. president to visit the Vatican was Woodrow
Wilson, who m...
If u get fitted for a bra and it fels to
tight or uncomfortable, should you
overlok the fitters advice?
If u get fitted for a bra and it fels to
tight or uncomfortable, should you
overlok the fitters advice?
I certainly would.
Privacy
If you offer SMS Reference which tool
do you use?
Top Tools Mosio
Google
Voice
LibraryH3lp
LibAnswers
http://www.myinfoquest.info
Albertsons Library SMS Reference
Participants
49% Freshman
27% Sophomores
11% Juniors
12% Seniors
1% Post-Baccalaureate Undergrads
Participants
n=732
402
females
(55%)
323
males
(44%)
7 not
specified
(1%)
U106
• Completed survey
• U106 students35
• Had previously used
SMS reference14%
• Say they would use
it again91%
How much did you
like using the SMS
Reference service?
91% Positive
8 loved it
12 liked it a lot
12 liked it
6% Neutral
2
...
Rate the quality of
the help you got
from the librarian.
94% Positive
10 loved it
12 liked it a lot
10 liked it
6% Neutral...
When you use Text
Messaging Reference, do you
want library staff to tell you
about both print and online
sources or just o...
77% 23%
When you use Text
Messaging Reference, do you
want library staff to tell you
about both print and online
sources o...
29%
Frequently ask
for help at Ref.
desks
58%
Rarely ask or never ask
for help at Ref. desks
• Desk person does not look
like they will know the answer
• 23% = SMS problem
20%
• Desk person does not look
like they will know the answer
• 23% = SMS problem
20%
• Do not want to get up from
their comp...
• Desk person does not look
like they will know the answer
• 23% = SMS problem
20%
• Do not want to get up from
their comp...
• Desk person does not look
like they will know the answer
• 23% = SMS problem
20%
• Do not want to get up from
their comp...
• Desk person does not look like
they will know the answer
• 23% = SMS problem20%
• Do not want to get up from their
compu...
Now that you've used Text
Messaging Reference, do you think
you will increase or decrease the
number of questions you will...
“..can help students who
rely heavily on their cell
phone usage.”
“If you feel like your
question is silly, it doesn't
mat...
“Sometimes it's easier for the
librarian to physically show
me where something is.”
“Limited answers. The
answers are shor...
“I have had people make
me feel dumb before and
now will not ask. So for me
there is no advantage.”
“they can show
you boo...
“there could be long lines, the
librarian may not be
competent .”
“Sometimes I don't trust their
knowledge or expertise or...
73%
conducted
training
Unsure….
(14%)
Just started
(12.5%)
10 or less
(40%)
10-100
(28%)
Over
100(6.3%)
Ready
reference
81%
Do you
have x
book 79%
Hours &
Location
49%
Attract a new user base
and make us attractive to
those who use SMS as
their primary
communication tool
Attract a new user base
and make us attractive to
those who use SMS as
their primary
communication tool
Convenience to
the...
Attract a new user base
and make us attractive to
those who use SMS as
their primary
communication tool
It’s
another
form ...
Attract a new user base
and make us attractive to
those who use SMS as
their primary
communication tool
It’s
another
form ...
Attract a new user base
and make us attractive to
those who use SMS as
their primary
communication tool
It’s
another
form ...
Attract a new user base
and make us attractive to
those who use SMS as
their primary
communication tool
It’s
another
form ...
Afraid of
technology
Afraid of
technology
We don’t even use the
word reference
anymore
Afraid of
technology
We don’t even use the
word reference
anymore
Not
enough
time or
staff
We don’t offer
text messaging
reference
because we are
behind the
times
Why not? Why?
Ask A Librarian Day
In Florida the statewide texting consortium held an Ask A Librarian
day where participating libraries ...
Q and A NJ
They have put together a checklist for marketing virtual reference :
http://www.qandanj.org/description/marketi...
Know It Now Ohio
From bookmarks to posters to power point presentations in the schools
– this consortium has a comprehensi...
QR Codes
Scan the QR code to text a librarian a question. Put QR codes with
posters on your bus system, or coffee shops. A...
CafePress
Mugs, t-shirts, polo shirts…
Instruction
Use SMS reference when talking to any class you are teaching. Check out
the lesson plan for Know it Now Ohio:
...
Instruction
Teaching students to communicate with librarians will engage them
in the classroom and beyond!
Questions
?
Contact Information
Margie Ruppel
• @bsulibrary
• margieruppel@boisestate.edu
Amy Vecchione
• @librarythinking
• amyvecchi...
Reference is Neither Here Nor There: Connecting Through SMS
Reference is Neither Here Nor There: Connecting Through SMS
Reference is Neither Here Nor There: Connecting Through SMS
Reference is Neither Here Nor There: Connecting Through SMS
Reference is Neither Here Nor There: Connecting Through SMS
Reference is Neither Here Nor There: Connecting Through SMS
Reference is Neither Here Nor There: Connecting Through SMS
Reference is Neither Here Nor There: Connecting Through SMS
Reference is Neither Here Nor There: Connecting Through SMS
Reference is Neither Here Nor There: Connecting Through SMS
Reference is Neither Here Nor There: Connecting Through SMS
Reference is Neither Here Nor There: Connecting Through SMS
Reference is Neither Here Nor There: Connecting Through SMS
Reference is Neither Here Nor There: Connecting Through SMS
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Reference is Neither Here Nor There: Connecting Through SMS

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Amy E. Vecchione, Boise State University
Margie Ruppel, Boise State University

Abstract
Have you ever wondered what your patrons think about SMS reference service? Do you wonder what other libraries are doing with SMS? Or what types of questions you would be asked through SMS reference service? Don’t try to reinvent the wheel! Join Boise State University librarians Amy Vecchione and Margie Ruppel to learn the results from their recently conducted national and local surveys on SMS reference. By attending this session participants will learn the most common types of questions asked through SMS, ways to market this service, best practices for answering SMS reference questions, and patrons’ perceptions of this new reference service. By the end of this presentation you will feel more confident about the best ways to engage your users with SMS reference.

Suggested Citation
Amy E. Vecchione and Margie Ruppel. "Reference Is Neither Here Nor There: Connecting Through SMS" Library Faculty Publications and Presentations.. Feb. 2011.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/margieruppel/32

Published in: Education
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Reference is Neither Here Nor There: Connecting Through SMS

  1. 1. Boise State University ScholarWorks Library Faculty Publications and Presentations The Albertsons Library 2-23-2011 Reference is Neither Here Nor There: Connecting Through SMS Amy E. Vecchione Boise State University Margie Ruppel Boise State University
  2. 2. Reference Is Neither Here Nor There A New Point of Need for Libraries Amy Vecchione, Assistant Professor/Librarian, Boise State University Margie Ruppel , Assistant Professor/Librarian, Boise State University
  3. 3. Amy Vecchione Assistant Professor/Librarian Boise State University @librarythinking amyvecchione@boisestate.edu Margie Ruppel Assistant Professor/Librarian Boise State University @BSULibrary Margieruppel@boisestate.edu
  4. 4. 72% of adults with cell phones send and receive text messages
  5. 5. “SMS services are an opportunity to reach new users; reference is neither here nor there”
  6. 6. Competitors Google Answers 466453 KGB 542542 (fee) ChaCha 242242
  7. 7. Google Answers How many slices of bacon are in a package?
  8. 8. Google Answers How many slices of bacon are in a package? Sorry, “how many slices o…’ did not return any results
  9. 9. KGB $0.99 per question asked
  10. 10. KGB Not available for all plans Human powered answers Flawed answers Cha Cha $0.99 per question asked
  11. 11. Does your library offer SMS reference?
  12. 12. Percentage of Respondents N=231 Offering SMS Reference 43% Not offering SMS Reference 43% Not now, but plan to soon 13%
  13. 13. What are they asking?
  14. 14. Why are freshmen required to take a library oreintation?
  15. 15. Why are freshmen required to take a library oreintation? To help acquaint students with the resources available at an academic library which is different than public or high school libraries.
  16. 16. on average how many slices of bacon are in a package...
  17. 17. on average how many slices of bacon are in a package... Cooks Illustrated says that regular sliced 1/16th of an inch usually contains 18-22 slices per pck per lb, & thick-cut aka country has 12-16 slices per pck per lb. Thick cut is 1/8 inch slices. http://www.cooksillustrated.com/tastetests/ overview.asp?docid=9874
  18. 18. How late is the library open? [BSU Broncos]
  19. 19. How late is the library open? [BSU Broncos] until midnight! w00t!
  20. 20. Do you have any books about constucting poems?
  21. 21. Do you have any books about constucting poems? Lots! 3rd floor PN1042-PN1064.
  22. 22. Who was the first U.S. President to meet the Pope?
  23. 23. Who was the first U.S. President to meet the Pope? The first U.S. president to visit the Vatican was Woodrow Wilson, who met with Pope Benedict XV in 1919 after WWI.
  24. 24. If u get fitted for a bra and it fels to tight or uncomfortable, should you overlok the fitters advice?
  25. 25. If u get fitted for a bra and it fels to tight or uncomfortable, should you overlok the fitters advice? I certainly would.
  26. 26. Privacy
  27. 27. If you offer SMS Reference which tool do you use?
  28. 28. Top Tools Mosio Google Voice LibraryH3lp LibAnswers
  29. 29. http://www.myinfoquest.info
  30. 30. Albertsons Library SMS Reference
  31. 31. Participants 49% Freshman 27% Sophomores 11% Juniors 12% Seniors 1% Post-Baccalaureate Undergrads
  32. 32. Participants n=732 402 females (55%) 323 males (44%) 7 not specified (1%) U106
  33. 33. • Completed survey • U106 students35 • Had previously used SMS reference14% • Say they would use it again91%
  34. 34. How much did you like using the SMS Reference service? 91% Positive 8 loved it 12 liked it a lot 12 liked it 6% Neutral 2 3% Negative 1 disliked it 1 disliked it a lot 0 hated it
  35. 35. Rate the quality of the help you got from the librarian. 94% Positive 10 loved it 12 liked it a lot 10 liked it 6% Neutral 2 0% Negative 0 disliked it 0 disliked it a lot 0 hated it
  36. 36. When you use Text Messaging Reference, do you want library staff to tell you about both print and online sources or just online sources?
  37. 37. 77% 23% When you use Text Messaging Reference, do you want library staff to tell you about both print and online sources or just online sources?
  38. 38. 29% Frequently ask for help at Ref. desks 58% Rarely ask or never ask for help at Ref. desks
  39. 39. • Desk person does not look like they will know the answer • 23% = SMS problem 20%
  40. 40. • Desk person does not look like they will know the answer • 23% = SMS problem 20% • Do not want to get up from their computer • 6% = SMS problem 49%
  41. 41. • Desk person does not look like they will know the answer • 23% = SMS problem 20% • Do not want to get up from their computer • 6% = SMS problem 49% • Feel stupid for not already knowing • 9% = SMS problem 51%
  42. 42. • Desk person does not look like they will know the answer • 23% = SMS problem 20% • Do not want to get up from their computer • 6% = SMS problem 49% • Feel stupid for not already knowing • 9% = SMS problem 51% • Do not want to bother going to the library building • 9% = SMS problem 54%
  43. 43. • Desk person does not look like they will know the answer • 23% = SMS problem20% • Do not want to get up from their computer • 6% = SMS problem49% • Feel stupid for not already knowing • 9% = SMS problem51% • Do not want to bother going to the library building • 9% = SMS problem54% • Desk person does n’t look like they want to help or they look too busy • 9% = SMS problem 57%
  44. 44. Now that you've used Text Messaging Reference, do you think you will increase or decrease the number of questions you will ask at the traditional reference desk? 57% will increase 20% will decrease 23% will not change
  45. 45. “..can help students who rely heavily on their cell phone usage.” “If you feel like your question is silly, it doesn't matter because the texting makes it confidential in a way.” “..don't have to worry about situational factors, like is that person looking at me, do i smell ok, did I word that question correctly, etc.” “Don't have to wait for help.” SMS Advantages
  46. 46. “Sometimes it's easier for the librarian to physically show me where something is.” “Limited answers. The answers are short and to the point, no elaboration of suggestions.” “might be hard to explain exactly what you need” “there really isn't any. “ SMS Disadvantages
  47. 47. “I have had people make me feel dumb before and now will not ask. So for me there is no advantage.” “they can show you books“ “You can get better details” “Social interaction, more elaboration on answers and suggestions, no wait time.” Ref Desk Advantages
  48. 48. “there could be long lines, the librarian may not be competent .” “Sometimes I don't trust their knowledge or expertise or it is hard to tell if someone is a worker, or a credible enough worker, to offer advice.” “I feel dumb and like I am bothering them.” “none” Ref Desk Disadvantages
  49. 49. 73% conducted training
  50. 50. Unsure…. (14%) Just started (12.5%) 10 or less (40%) 10-100 (28%) Over 100(6.3%)
  51. 51. Ready reference 81% Do you have x book 79% Hours & Location 49%
  52. 52. Attract a new user base and make us attractive to those who use SMS as their primary communication tool
  53. 53. Attract a new user base and make us attractive to those who use SMS as their primary communication tool Convenience to the patron, using technology most students prefer
  54. 54. Attract a new user base and make us attractive to those who use SMS as their primary communication tool It’s another form of reference Convenience to the patron, using technology most students prefer
  55. 55. Attract a new user base and make us attractive to those who use SMS as their primary communication tool It’s another form of reference Convenience to the patron, using technology most students prefer It is easily implemented
  56. 56. Attract a new user base and make us attractive to those who use SMS as their primary communication tool It’s another form of reference It is easily implemented Provide patrons with as many ways to reach us as we can Convenience to the patron, using technology most students prefer
  57. 57. Attract a new user base and make us attractive to those who use SMS as their primary communication tool It’s another form of reference Provide patrons with as many ways to reach us as we can Easy way to provide quick answers Convenience to the patron, using technology most students prefer It is easily implemented
  58. 58. Afraid of technology
  59. 59. Afraid of technology We don’t even use the word reference anymore
  60. 60. Afraid of technology We don’t even use the word reference anymore Not enough time or staff
  61. 61. We don’t offer text messaging reference because we are behind the times
  62. 62. Why not? Why?
  63. 63. Ask A Librarian Day In Florida the statewide texting consortium held an Ask A Librarian day where participating libraries coordinated blogposts, cookies, cakes, and question booths like this one.
  64. 64. Q and A NJ They have put together a checklist for marketing virtual reference : http://www.qandanj.org/description/marketing_ideas.pdf
  65. 65. Know It Now Ohio From bookmarks to posters to power point presentations in the schools – this consortium has a comprehensive list of marketing materials on their website: http://provider.knowitnow.org/content/marketing- materials
  66. 66. QR Codes Scan the QR code to text a librarian a question. Put QR codes with posters on your bus system, or coffee shops. Any advertisement for SMS reference is an advertisement for the whole library.
  67. 67. CafePress Mugs, t-shirts, polo shirts…
  68. 68. Instruction Use SMS reference when talking to any class you are teaching. Check out the lesson plan for Know it Now Ohio: http://provider.knowitnow.org/KINdocs/marketing/KnowItNow24x7_ Lesson_Plan.pdf
  69. 69. Instruction Teaching students to communicate with librarians will engage them in the classroom and beyond!
  70. 70. Questions ?
  71. 71. Contact Information Margie Ruppel • @bsulibrary • margieruppel@boisestate.edu Amy Vecchione • @librarythinking • amyvecchione@boisestate.edu

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