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Cooperative Virtual Reference Assessment: Service Process, Service Quality, and User Perception

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Poster presented at Michigan Library Association Annual Conference - October 26, 2011. Presents the methodology and preliminary results of a three-part quantitative assessment of the virtual reference …

Poster presented at Michigan Library Association Annual Conference - October 26, 2011. Presents the methodology and preliminary results of a three-part quantitative assessment of the virtual reference service at Michigan State University Libraries.

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  • 1. Cooperative Virtual Reference Assessment: Service Process, Service Quality, and User Perception Christine Tobias, Reference & Technology Librarian, Michigan State University Libraries Background and Objectives Service Process Service Quality User Perception Michigan State University participates in virtual reference with two What are the information needs of MSU patrons in virtual reference? What is the overall quality of service provided to MSU patrons in virtual reference? From the users’ perspective, is cooperative virtual reference effective? cooperatives: (i.e. – What types of questions are being asked?) Are cooperative librarians helpful to MSU patrons? What are the average scores of responses on user surveys? Types of Questions Asked in Virtual Reference Research Help Now (RHN) Service Quality Scores: Average Percentage by Section Was the librarian helpful? Was the service easy to use? • Academic libraries in Michigan (2 universities and 11 community 2.88 2.88 colleges). Neutral Yes Neutral Yes =2 =3 =2 =3 • More information available at www.researchhelpnow.org. Did you feel the librarian fully Were you satisfied with the answer QuestionPoint 24/7 Academic Cooperative understood your question? to your question? • Academic libraries utilizing OCLC’s QuestionPoint software to conduct virtual reference nation-wide. 2.83 2.78 Neutral Yes Neutral Yes • More information available at www.questionpoint.org. 1. Research Question (27.4 %): =2 =3 =2 =3 “How do I find research materials on my specific topic?” This poster shares the methodology and preliminary results of a three-part quantitative assessment of cooperative virtual reference 2. Specific Journal Article (19.5 %): conducted in the areas of Service Process, Service Quality, and User “I have a citation for this journal article. How do I find it?” Service Quality Scores: Average Percentage by Librarian Group Feedback. The quality of the library staff Will you use this service again? 3. Electronic Resource (18.6 %): answering your question was…? Methodology “How can I find online journal articles/e-books?” 2.82 3.65 Maybe Very likely 4. Specific Book/Document (10.9 %): Good Excellent =2 =3 Service Process “Do you have this book in the library?” =3 =4 To develop a better understanding of the information needs of MSU patrons in virtual reference, a systematic sample of 343 chat and 5. Databases (7.1 %): instant message (IM) transcripts from the academic year, 2009-2010, “Can you help me use [Name of Database]?” were assigned up to three customized descriptive codes. Service Quality To evaluate the quality of service provided to MSU patrons in Preliminary Results cooperative virtual reference, the systematic sample of 343 chat and IM transcripts used to determine the Service Process were scored using a Virtual Reference Service Quality Instrument, designed to Service Process assess tone, reference interview quality, provision of information, and Service Process Cooperative virtual reference is a valid research service point! closing. • Most frequently asked type of question is a research question. How are MSU patrons using the virtual reference service? • Web chat used much more frequently than Qwidget (IM). (i.e. – Proportion of web chat vs. Qwidget (IM)) Service Quality • Possibly due to order of presentation of services on Ask A Librarian page. User Feedback Is cooperative reference an efficient and/or effective service? • Qwidget (IM) not a 24/7 service in 2009-2010; Hidden from public view when To gain a user perspective on the effectiveness and quality of the Type of Virtual Reference Service Used: no MSU librarians were available. cooperative virtual reference service, responses from 209 user surveys submitted between September 2010 – June 2011 were Web Chat vs. Qwidget (IM) Proportion of Questions Answered Per Librarian Group Service Quality reviewed and scored. Participation in cooperative virtual reference is efficient and effective! • MSU patrons are serviced mostly by cooperative librarians in virtual reference. • Research Help Now and 24/7 librarians scored higher in service quality than MSU librarians. • Each group of cooperative VR librarians scored highest in Provision of Information.Contact Information: • Each group of cooperative VR librarians scored lowest in Tone and Closing. • Each group of cooperative VR librarians could benefit from enhancing theirChristine Tobias soft skills/communication etiquette skills.Reference & Technology LibrarianMichigan State University Libraries User Perception Like! Like! Like!Email: tobiasc@msu.edu • Users of cooperative virtual reference provide mostly positive feedback aboutTwitter: @ctobias27 the quality of service, level of librarian skill, and satisfaction in answer.Phone: 517-884-0897 • Users frequently report that they would use the virtual reference service again. Copyright 2011 Christine L. Tobias. All rights reserved.