Seeking Synchronicity: Evaluating Virtual Reference Transcripts
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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

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 evaluating virtual reference transcripts

Seeking Synchronicity:Evaluating 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 evaluating virtual reference transcripts

Seeking Synchronicity:Evaluating 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:24/7 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


Seeking synchronicity evaluating virtual reference transcripts

  • 6 Analyses

    • 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


Seeking synchronicity evaluating virtual reference transcripts

n=255


Seeking synchronicity evaluating virtual reference transcripts

n=238


Seeking synchronicity evaluating virtual reference transcripts

n=256


Seeking synchronicity evaluating virtual reference transcripts

n=273


Seeking synchronicity evaluating virtual reference transcripts

n=273


Seeking synchronicity evaluating virtual reference transcripts

n=273


Service duration

Service Duration

  • Mean Service Duration:

    13:53

  • Median Service Duration:

    10:37


Focus group interviews reasons for using vrs

Focus Group InterviewsReasons 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 InterviewsReasons 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 Challenges 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 Suggestions 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

  • 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

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/


Seeking synchronicity evaluating virtual reference transcripts

  • Questions

  • 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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