Symphony of Synchronicity? Evaluating Chat Reference Dr. John V. Richardson Jr


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Symphony of Synchronicity? Evaluating Chat Reference

  • Dr. John V. Richardson Jr.

  • UCLA Professor of Information Studies

  • LSSI Presidential Scholar

  • VRD Chicago, 12 November 2002


Presentation Outline

  • S. S. Green’s Qualities

  • Attributes Identified by Subsequent Authors

  • RUSA Behavioral Guidelines

  • Open vs. Closed Questions

  • LSSI’s Green Guidelines

  • Assessing Transcripts

  • Further Readings



Green’s Qualities (1876)

  • Courteous disposition

  • Sympathy

  • Cheerfulness

  • Patience

  • Enthusiasm

  • SOURCE: S.S. Green, “Personal Relations Between Librarians and Readers,” American Library Journal 1 (November 1876): 79ff. See http://dlis.gseis.ucla.edu/people/jrichardson/DIS220/personal.htm



Subsequent Textbook Authors

  • Wyer (1930)

    • Intelligence, Accuracy, and Judgment
  • Hutchins (1944)

  • The Effective Reference Librarian (1981)

    • Tact, Intelligence, and Imagination
  • Katz (1982)

    • Professional Knowledge, Judgment, Speed
  • SOURCE: Richardson, KBS (1995), p. 25



ALA RUSA Behavioral Guidelines (1996)

  • Readiness

  • Interest

  • Understanding

  • Verification

  • SOURCE: “RUSA Behavioral Guidelines for Information Professionals”; for a discussion see Saxton and Richardson, Understanding Reference Transactions (2002), p. 60ff.



Open vs. Closed Questions

  • Open-ended questions are those questions that will solicit additional information from the inquirer. Sometimes called infinite response or unsaturated type questions. Note that neutral questions are merely a subset of open questions, according to Dervin and Dewdney.

  • Closed ended questions are those questions, which can be answered finitely by either “yes” or “no.” Also known as saturated type questions.

  • SOURCE: http://dlis.gseis.ucla.edu/jrichardson/DIS220/openclosed.htm



Open Questions

  • How may I help you?

  • Where have you looked already?

  • What aspect are you looking for?

  • What kind of information are you looking for?

  • What would you like to know about [topic]?

  • When you say [topic], what do you mean?

  • SOURCE: Based in part on reclassifying some examples from Jennerich and Jennerich (1987), p. 14; Ohio Reference Excellence (2000), p. 8; and Dervin and Dewdney (1986), p. 509.



Closed Questions

  • Can I help you?

  • May I help you?

  • Can you give me more information?

  • Can you describe the kind of information you want?

  • Can you give me an example?

  • Could you be more specific?

  • Are you looking for [topic]?

  • SOURCE: Based in part on reclassifying some examples from Jennerich and Jennerich (1987), p. 14; Ohio Reference Excellence (2000), p. 8; and Dervin and Dewdney (1986), p. 509.



LSSI Green Guidelines

  • Drawing upon the variety of sources previously mentioned, LSSI’s SS Green Award for Exemplary Reference uses multiple criteria:

  • Http://purl.org/net/checklist



Assessing LSSI Transcripts

  • Several model transactions are available for public perusal

    • April -October 2002
    • Source: http://www.vrtoolkit.net/greenaward/awardwinners.htm
  • Submit your own for consideration:

    • http://orca.pwl.com/greenaward/green_submit.html


Further Readings

  • The LSSI checklist is based on findings presented in the research literature. For a model of the process, see John V. Richardson Jr., “Modeling the Reference Process: A Systems Approach,” College and Research Libraries 60 (May 1999): 211-222 and is reprinted in Saxton and Richardson, Understanding Reference Transactions (2002), chapter 7. For more background research on each of the questions in the checklist, see “The Current State of Research on Reference Transactions,” In Advances in Librarianship, vol. 26, edited by Frederick C. Lynden. New York: Academic Press, 2002. You can find nearly 1,000 citations to reference related studies at http://purl.org/net/ reference or those 250 related solely to virtual reference work, see http://purl.org/net/vqa.




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