LIB 640 Information Sources and Services Summer 2012 What Are Information Services?Defining Reference Service in School Libraries
2 What are information services?And what do they have to do with schools and libraries?
3 Information Services: a working definition For the purposes of this class, we can define information services as any service intended to provide information for a client or user, or assist a client or user in finding or searching for information
4 Libraries have traditionally provided reference services reference services • All the functions performed by a trained librarian employed in the reference section of a library to meet the information needs of patrons (in person, by telephone, or electronically), including but not limited to answering substantive questions, instructing users in the selection and use of appropriate tools and techniques for finding information, conducting searches on behalf of the patron, directing users to the location of library resources, assisting in the evaluation of information, referring patrons to resources outside the library when appropriate, keeping reference statistics, and participating in the development of the reference collection.
5 What Is Reference? Why Is It Important? • The goal of reference work is to meet people’s information needs. • Reference work includes finding out what information people need and using library resources to provide that information. • http://www.olc.org/Ore/1what.htm
6 Important reminder Reference work is about people • those who need information and those who provide it. Reference service is providing information to meet the needs of the individual library users in your community. • Module 1 - People
7 What is the reference process? The reference process includes the following: 1. Encouraging the patron to contact the library when there is an information need. 2. Finding out what the real information need is. 3. Finding the information that will meet the need. 4. Making sure the patron’s need really has been met.
8 Reference questions What is a reference question? • A reference question is a question that involves the knowledge, use, recommendations, interpretation, or instruction in the use of one or more information sources by a member of the library staff. • Library » CPLA Reference & Resource Center » Frequently Asked Questions » Reference
9 Then, there’s the reference interview Reference interview? • In the reference process, knowing how to get the question is a critical step toward finding the right answer. Determining the real question is accomplished through the reference interview. The reference interview is a discussion between you and your patron. It involves asking the right questions and listening carefully to the answers. • Houston Area Library System HALS Reference123 Module 2..Questions The Reference Interview
10 Thought-provoking According to Robert Taylor, the reference interview is • “one of the most complex acts of human communication,” for in this act “one person tries to describe for another person not something he knows, but rather something he does not know.” • “Question Negotiation and Information Seeking in Libraries,” College and Research Libraries 29 (May 1968): 180. Quoted in Tibbo, Helen. “Learning to Love Our Users: A Challenge to the Profession and a Model for Practice.” 2002. Online at http://www.ils.unc.edu/tibbo/MAC Spring 2002.pdf
11 Communication with a Purpose The reference librarian “is involved in diagnostic and prescriptive activity.” • “what people ask for [want] is often not what they really need. Thus, it is important to have the diagnostic session so that the client will be given the right information and will be successful.” • Robinson, William C. (2000). “The Reference Interview.” Course material from the University of Tennessee—Knoxville apparently no longer available online
12 Basic Considerations1. The student may not know what to expect.2. The “average” student may have no preknowledge of the type of resource(s) Ann Riedling that will answer his or her question.3. The student’s communication skills may not be as refined as yours.4. The student may not know the terminology (library lingo) used in the reference interview. • Riedling, Ann Marlow. “Great Ideas for Improving Reference Interviews.” Book Report. 19.3 (Nov/Dec2000): 28-29.
13 Considerations, cont.5. The student may lack knowledge about the subject, the assignment, or the usage policies of the SLMC.6. The student may misinterpret your nonverbal or verbal cues.7. The student may be fearful of you or frustrated about the question being raised.8. Communications may become miscommunications when a student is unable to verbalize his or her information need. • Riedling, “Great Ideas.”
14 Miscommunication happens! Examples: • Patron asks for information on “career.” Turned out he meant “Korea.” • After showing the patron several book about Buddhism, I realized that was not what he meant when he asked for information on Nirvana. • the Hawaiian volcano, Killer Whale • Miscommunications in Libraries. Now an archived site. • See also Weird library reference questions
15 Deep Reference Question • Yes, an actual question: If I ate only Cheetos, would I turn orange? • See all the posts labeled “Reference” made by The Liberry aka Amy or Marian The at http://lovetheliberry.blogspot.com/search/label/ reference
16 Types of problems Reference librarians are used to dealing with situations like these: • Homophones, a word the librarian interprets with one meaning while the user means the other: e.g., Wales/Whales; China/china. • user misunderstands and, in turn, conveys this misunderstanding to the librarian: i.e., “I need the book Catch Her in the Eye” (Catcher in the Rye) • user understands the concept but does not use the correct terms: i.e., I need the book, “Battle of the Planets” - (War of the Worlds) • Gale/ALISE Bibliographic Instruction Support Program. Instructional Module 2: Importance of the Reference Interview . No longer available online.
“Oranges and Peaches”: 17 A Classic Article Understanding Communication Accidents in the Reference Interview • In the reference transaction, the librarian must have a clear, complete understanding of the user’s information need before a satisfactory answer can be given. Often the question must be negotiated through a reference interview, where the librarian will attempt to clarify, expand, and perhaps repair the query as it is initially presented by the user.
18 Structure of the Interview ORE Skills and steps in the reference interview: • Paraphrasing • Asking open questions • Clarifying • Verifying • Getting all the needed information (the 6 pieces of evidence) • Following up • Ending the interview • Reference Interview Module 2 http://www.olc.org/Ore/2interview.htm
20 What are neutral questions? Neutral questions • “Neutral questions are open in form, avoid premature diagnosis of the problem, and structure the interview along dimensions universally important to users -- their gaps, their situations, the bridges they wish to construct, and the outcomes they wish to achieve.” • Dervin, B., & Dewdney, P. (1986). Neutral questioning: A new approach to the reference interview. RQ, 25 (4): 506-513. Abstract online at https://faculty.washington.edu/jwj/lis521/zennezdervinde wd86nq-1.pdf
21 Uses of Neutral Questions Used to discover the user’s motivation and objectives without asking “why” questions • What would you like to know about X? • How do you plan to use this information? • How would this information help you? • Freund, L. “Question Negotiation in Online Searching.” Powerpoint presentation. Online at http://choo.fis.utoronto.ca/FIS/Courses/LIS1325 /QuestionNego.pdf
22 Evidence Needed What do you want to end up with at the conclusion of the interview? • Purpose • Deadline • Type and Amount • Who • Where • The Basic Question • 6 Pieces of Evidence. Houston Area Library System Reference Training Module 2. Online at http://www.hals.lib.tx.us/ref123/2evidence.htm
23 Ending the Interview Close • Check if the question has been or can be answered with the material at hand. • Check to see if the person is satisfied at the moment. • Expressly offer additional help as needed. • Withdraw cordially. • “The Reference Interview: A Common-Sense Review.” Available online at http://infopeople.org/sites/all/files/past/2004/reference/ASCL AALAref_interview.pdf
24 Reference in the School Library Types of interviews • Ready reference interviews • Include questions that can be answered with short factual information • Research project interviews • Involve in-depth coverage of a topic, often requiring the use of multiple sources • Readers’ advisory interviews • Recommending good leisure reading • Ann Riedling, Reference Skills for the School Library Media Specialist, 2nd ed.
25 Face-to-face Reference• Part of the joy of the reference interview is its tangible, tactile nature and the slow buildup as you gather enough information to begin the search process. You listen, question, and listen again; you pick up cues from gestures and facial expressions. • Schneider, Karen G. “Internet Librarian: In Your Dreams: A Y2K Fantasy.” American Libraries December 1999. Online at http://archive.ala.org/alonline/netlib/il1299.html
26 Email Reference Eileen Abels (1996) suggests that • every reference question should take between three exchanges -- the question by the patron, a summary of the question by the librarian, and a confirmation of the question by the patron -- and five -- the three already listed plus a second round of summarization by the librarian, and a confirmation by the patron. • Staley, Laura: “E-Mail Reference: Experiences at City University.” PNLA Quarterly, 62.4 (Summer 1998). Online at http://www.pnla.org/quart/su98/staley.htm
27 Digital Reference What is Digital Reference? • Digital reference services, also called “Ask-An-Expert” (or “AskA”) services, are Internet- based question and answer services that connect users [frequently members of the K-12 education community] with individuals who possess specialized subject or skill expertise. • http://www2.maxwell.syr.edu/plegal/askalg.html
28 What about virtual reference? What is Virtual Reference? • Virtual reference is the provision of library reference services through digital or electronic information technology. In the case of Ask A Question (AAQ), it means that individuals are able to ask for and receive reference assistance at any time using any computer with Internet access, whether they are at home, at work, in the library or elsewhere.
30 Important question Regardless of how the service is provided, virtually or in person, does it have to be a certified school librarian who provides the service? • Are School Librarians Expendable? • “School librarians are on the chopping block as states and cities seek to cut their education budgets. . . . Do superintendents and principals see librarians as more expendable than other school employees? If so, why?” • New York Times Updated June 27, 2011 03:46 PM
31 A recent resolution ALA Resolution that School Libraries and Librarians are Critical to Educational Success • Whereas school librarians help students acquire unique skills not taught in the classroom and information and technology skills essential for students in the 21st century; • Whereas there has been research conducted in 22 states and a Canadian Province that provides significant evidence indicating the value added to student’s academic development by the presence of a strong school library program led by a credentialed librarian; •
32 More from the resolution• Whereas the most universal finding is that the presence of full-time, credentialed school librarians and appropriate support staff who implement a quality, school integrated program of library services is directly related to these student educational gains;• Whereas quality school library programs staffed by credential school librarians prepare students to have the 21st Century skills they need to succeed in college and careers. They are particularly critical to help close the achievement gap of students who come from economically disadvantage backgrounds. • ALA Resolution that School Libraries and Librarians are Critical to Educational Success