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Seeking Synchronicity: Evaluating Virtual Reference Transcripts. Presented by Lynn Silipigni Connaway and Marie L. Radford QuestionPoint Users Group Meeting June 25, 2006 New Orleans, Louisiana.

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Seeking Synchronicity: Evaluating Virtual Reference Transcripts

Presented by

Lynn Silipigni Connaway

and

Marie L. Radford

QuestionPoint Users Group Meeting

June 25, 2006

New Orleans, Louisiana


Seeking Synchronicity: TranscriptsEvaluating Virtual Reference Services from User, Non-User, and Librarian Perspectives

  • $1,103,572 project funded by:

    • Institute of Museum and Library Services

      $684,996 grant

    • Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey and OCLC Online Computer Library Center $405,076 in kind contributions


Seeking Synchronicity: TranscriptsEvaluating Virtual Reference Services from User, Non-User, and Librarian Perspectives

Project duration

10/1/2005-9/30/2007

Four phases:

  • Focus group interviews*

  • Analysis of 1,000+ QuestionPoint transcripts

  • 600 online surveys*

  • 300 telephone interviews*

*Interviews & surveys with VRS users, non-users, & librarians


Phase ii 24 7 transcript analysis
Phase II: Transcripts24/7 Transcript Analysis

  • Generated random sample

    • July 7, 2004 through June 27, 2005

    • 263,673 sessions

    • 25 transcripts/month = 300 total

  • 256 usable transcripts

    • Excluding system tests and technical problems


  • 6 Analyses Transcripts

    • Geographical Distribution

      • Library receiving query

      • Library answering query

    • Type of Library

    • Type of Questions

      • Katz/Kaske Classification

    • Subject of Questions

      • Dewy Decimal Classification

    • Session Duration

    • Interpersonal Communication

      • Radford Classification


n=255 Transcripts


n=238 Transcripts


n=256 Transcripts


n=273 Transcripts


n=273 Transcripts


n=273 Transcripts


Service duration
Service Duration Transcripts

  • Mean Service Duration:

    13:53

  • Median Service Duration:

    10:37


Focus group interviews reasons for using vrs
Focus Group Interviews TranscriptsReasons for Using VRS

  • Convenient

  • Efficient

  • More reliable than search engines & free

  • Allows multi-tasking

  • Email follow-up & provision of transcript

  • Pleasant interpersonal experience

    • Librarian on first name basis – more personalized

  • Less intimidating than physical reference desk

    • Feel comfortable abruptly ending session


Focus group interviews reasons for not using vrs
Focus Group Interviews TranscriptsReasons for not using VRS

  • Graduate students

    • Fear of

      • Bothering librarian

      • Looking stupid & advisors finding out

    • Questions may not be taken seriously

    • Potential technical problems

    • Bad experiences in FtF influence expectations of VRS

  • Screenagers

    • Virtual stalkers (“psycho killers”)

    • Not finding a trusted librarian

    • Unsure of what to expect


Focus group interviews challenges for users non users
Focus Group Interviews TranscriptsChallenges for Users & Non-Users

  • Speed and technical problems

  • Delayed response time

  • Librarians are not in users’ libraries

    • Fear of no subject expertise

  • Fear of overwhelming librarian


Focus group interviews suggestions from users non users
Focus Group Interviews TranscriptsSuggestions from Users & Non-Users

  • Inclusion of multiple languages

  • Access to subject specialists

  • Better marketing and publicity

    • Information on how to connect and use VRS

    • Reassurance that users will not bother librarians – the library wants the service to be used

  • Faster technology

  • Improved interface design

    • More color

    • More attractive


Next steps
Next Steps Transcripts

  • Conduct

    • Three focus group interviews – VRS users

    • Online survey & telephone interviews with VRS

      • Users

      • Non-users

      • Librarians

  • Analyses

    • Gender

    • User Type

      • Child/Young adult

      • Adult

      • Unknown


End notes

End Notes Transcripts

This is one of the outcomes from the project Seeking Synchronicity: Evaluating Virtual Reference Services from User, Non-User, and Librarian Perspectives, Marie L. Radford and Lynn Silipigni Connaway, Co-Principal Investigators.

Funded by IMLS, Rutgers University and OCLC, Online Computer Library Center.

Project web site: http://www.oclc.org/research/projects/synchronicity/


  • Questions Transcripts

  • Marie L. Radford, Ph.D.

    • Email:[email protected]

    • www.scils.rutgers.edu/~mradford

  • Lynn Silipigni Connaway, Ph.D.

    • Email: [email protected]

    • www.oclc.org/research/staff/connaway.htm


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