Evaluation of Information Sources and Reference Services Dr. Dania Bilal


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Evaluation of Information Sources and Reference Services

  • Dr. Dania Bilal

  • IS 530

  • Fall 2006


Why Evaluate Services?

  • Assess and improve the quality of existing services

  • Identify the need for new types of services or programs

  • Justify funding and support



Why Evaluate Services?

  • Manage human and physical resources more effectively and efficiently

  • Justify the need for maintaining services and need for additional programs



Levels of Evaluation

  • Lancaster’s scheme:

    • Inputs
    • Outputs
    • Outcomes


Levels of Evaluation: Inputs



Levels of Evaluation: Outputs

  • Measurement of quality of providing a service:



Levels of Evaluation: Outcomes

  • Meeting user information needs

  • Discussion Question: How should professionals assess user satisfaction?



Evaluation Guidelines

  • RUSA guidelines for reference services

    • http://www.ala.org/rusaTemplate.cfm?Section=referenceguide&Template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=26884


Selection of Reference Sources

  • RUSA Reference Committee

    • Outstanding Reference Sources
      • Annually in May issue of American Libraries
      • Print sources
      • Small- and medium-sized academic and public libraries
      • Online via RUSA website


Selection of Reference Sources

  • ARBA (American Reference Books Annual)

  • Guides

    • Guide to Reference Books
    • Walford’s Guide to Reference Materials
    • Recommended Reference Books for Small and Medium-Sized Libraries and Media Centers
    • Guide to Reference Materials for School Library Media Centers (Safford, Barbara R.)


Selection of Reference Sources

  • Booklist (Reference Book Bulletin)

  • Library Journal (print, websites, and databases)

  • School Library Journal

  • Reference & User Services Quarterly

  • Books in Print With Book Reviews

  • Choice (reviews electronic databases in each issue

  • Many other sources are listed in your text (Vol. I, chap. 3). These Sources serve as selection and evaluation tools.



Evaluation of Print Sources

  • Examination using criteria:

    • Purpose
    • Authority
    • Currency
    • Physical condition
    • Format
    • Curriculum needs
    • Target audience
    • Objectiveness of content
    • Online availability
    • Cost


Evaluation Electronic Databases

  • Purpose

  • Design

    • User Interface
      • Search and Retrieval features
    • Record structure
    • Navigation
      • Visual elements (icons, metaphors, colors, etc.)
      • Ease of use
    • Links to external resources (e.g., SFX)


Evaluation of Electronic Databases

  • Authority

  • Coverage (time period)

  • Scope (type of publications covered/indexed)

  • Full-text availability of articles

  • Target audience

  • Curriculum needs

  • Cost

  • Other criteria?



Evaluation of Reference Staff

  • Approachability

  • Knowledge of reference collection

  • Knowledge of local services and referral

  • Skills in identifying user needs (mediation)

    • (we will cover the evaluation of the reference process and mediators later in the course)
  • Communication with users



Evaluation of Reference Transactions

  • Types:

    • Obtrusive
    • Unobtrusive
      • Issues & challenges
    • Reference statistics


Evaluation of User Satisfaction

  • Assess satisfaction of all types of users, including specific populations

  • Techniques

    • interviews
    • telephone
    • Web



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