Chat 2.0: Renovating Virtual Reference


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Chat 2.0: Renovating Virtual Reference

  1. 1. Chat 2.0: Renovating Virtual Reference Yasmin Morais Sara Sampson Cataloging Librarian Head of Reference Charles A. & Hilda H.M. Mason Law Library Georgetown Law Library University of the District of Columbia
  2. 2. Agenda • Review of content analysis – Methodology – Findings • Impact of study on chat service at Georgetown Law • Ideas for future research
  3. 3. Georgetown Law’s Chat History • Started as a pilot in January 2005 with limited hours Wednesday – Saturday • Full implementation of Live Help in Spring 2005 • Approximately 67 hours of chat service now available during academic year – 40 hours during breaks and summer • Use Timpani software (LivePerson service)
  4. 4. Methodology • Content analysis of chat transcripts from 2008 – Accessed – Analyzed – Coded – Double-checked – Data entry and analysis
  5. 5. Definition of Query Types Four query types: – Ready Reference – Extended Reference – Technical – Policy
  6. 6. Query Types By Groups
  7. 7. Combined Query Types
  8. 8. Student Question Types
  9. 9. Faculty Question Types
  10. 10. Alumni Question Types
  11. 11. Summary of Findings • Transcripts yielded a total of 2,303 reference queries • September, March, and February were top months for chats • Students led on all four query types • After students, alumni led faculty on both reference and policy queries • After students, faculty are asking more known items and technical queries than alumni
  12. 12. Anecdotal Findings • Students use chat service while in the library. • Students really like this service. • We answer really tough questions! • Never assume patrons know what services we offer (e.g., ILL) • Never assume patrons know how to find items in our collection (e.g., e-journal finder)
  13. 13. Impact of Study on Georgetown’s Chat Service • Increased Training – Software features – Reference Roundtable – Chat vs. in-person reference • Change in staffing model – Multiple back-ups – Staff chat from offices instead of reference desk – No change in who staffs reference • Collaborative Reference • Virtual Research Consultations
  14. 14. Ideas for Future Research • How do sub-groups (e.g. part-time students vs. full-time students) use chat differently? • Did we give the right answers to our patrons? • Do they repeatedly ask for things that we don’t have in our collection? • Where are the patrons when they use chat? • What subjects are they asking about? • Do questions reveal a gap in legal research instruction?
  15. 15. Questions or Comments? • The final version of this presentation will be posted on the Georgetown Law Library’s website
  16. 16. Acknowledgements • This project would not have been possible without the help of the following persons at the Georgetown Law Library: – Sara Burriesci – Electronic Services Librarian, who facilitated transcript retrieval – Barbara Monroe – Collection Development Librarian for assistance with the institutional memory of chat at Georgetown – Todd Venie, Leslie Street, Erie Taniuchi and Marina Veljanovska all worked very hard to help with the coding of the transcripts. – Georgetown Law Library’s Scholarly Writing Committee for review of the draft article – Georgetown Law Library’s generous two-week scholarly leave facilitated completion of the draft article, which resulted from the project