Study on the quality evaluation of modern reference service in library
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Study on the Quality Evaluation of Modern Reference Service in Library . Li Xiaopeng From Nanjing University of Science and Technology. Introduction.

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Study on the Quality Evaluation of Modern Reference Service in Library

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Study on the Quality Evaluation of Modern Reference Service in Library

Li Xiaopeng

From Nanjing University of Science and Technology


Level of reference services is the embodiment of the service capability of a library, so its quality evaluation is always the research focus of library community.

How to measure the quality and level of reference services by more scientific evaluation methods or systems, that is really very worth to research.

Outline of this paper

1 the characteristics of modern reference services

2 the two “hard” factors that impact the quality of modern reference services

3 the two “soft” factors that impact the quality of modern reference services

4 quality evaluation of modern reference services

1 the characteristics of modern reference services

1.1 the diversification of service forms

With information technology infiltrating into reference operations of library, many modernized reference approaches are derived, such as remote reference, cooperative reference, real-time reference, virtual reference, digital reference, on-line reference, computer expert reference system, and so on.

Combined in forms and reinforced in functions, they together make up of the modern reference service system. With the ceaseless abundance of the service forms, traditional reference services break the limits of time and space, and the functions of service resources are exerted, totally.

1.2 the integration of service means

From information collection, clear-up, filtration, process, abstraction, to result offering, the integrative character is clearly emerge in the service means of modern reference.

Multiple retrieval tools, different retrieval systems, various transfer manners, using these service means thoroughly and synthetically is a basic qualification for reference librarians to settle customers` reference inquiries successfully.

1.3 the standardization of service flows

It is very important for the reference librarians to offer their reference results in a rather short time, or real-time.

It is more and more impossible for the reference librarians to meet the reference demands just depends on a certain individual.

Collaboration and cooperation between the reference librarians becomes more and more necessary.

So standardization is requested to ensure the service flows run smoothly and efficiently,

2 the two “hard” factors that impact the quality of modern reference services

2.1 the physical base

1) information resources

First is the quantity of information resources available.

Secondly is the outside force that one can resort to.

2) software and hardware facilities

Nowaday, to accomplish reference services it is more and more need to depends on modern equipments

In order to achieve higher insurance ratio from software and hardware facilities, Modern reference services should strive for improving in such areas as the equipment degree of software and hardware, the reliability of handling quality, and convenience of operation interaction, etc.

2.2 the service approaches

1) the approaches for acquiring of reference answers

Reference inquiries from customers are differ in thousands way, as well as lots of commonness exist, too. The arrangement of approaches for reference answers providing can exert the effectiveness of reference librarians sufficiently. Such as it permits reference librarians to concentrate its energy on solving more complicated and specialized reference inquiries.

2) the means for enjoying of reference services

that is customers should be given more options on deciding by which way to enjoy certain reference services.

3 the two “soft” factors that impact the quality of modern reference services

3.1 the qualities and capabilities of reference librarians

1) training of reference librarians

2) proper arrangement of the subject background

3) comprehensive utilization of the service resources and facilities

4) communicate capability and appetency

5) experience accumulation

3.2 effect of reference services

Customer-satisfaction index is the direct reflection of service effect, Since service effect must be accepted by our customers, so “customer acceptance” must be outweighs all other considerations.

1) acceptance degree of service results

Acceptance degree of service results is measured by the gap between reference results and customer`s expectation.

2) acceptance degree of service process

Acceptance degree of service process is embodied by standardization degree the customers felt, during the whole process of reference services conducting.

Besides, there are another factors, although periphery, but they are affinitive to reference services effect.

such as paying attention to privacy protection or not, with no discrimination in treating customers or not, etc.

4 quality evaluation of modern reference services

4.1 the common used evaluation methods at home and abroad

1) expectation-perception gap evaluation method

The expectation-perception gap evaluation method always used to measure customer-satisfaction degree of some services, This evaluation method is suitable for overall evaluation of each service, but it can not reveal the cause that leads to high or low customer-satisfaction degree, it`s response speed or communication capacity, or some other reasons, we don`t know.

2) dimension analysis evaluation method

This evaluation method is suitable for related factors evaluation of the whole reference services, but to a certain service, which factor plays a more important role, or how these factors work, also we can not have a clear idea.

4.2 the third supplementary evaluation method: customer-usefulness analysis evaluation method

Each evaluation method has both advantages and disadvantages, the above evaluation methods, all evaluate contents are put forward by the service provider, so these are quality evaluation in service provider`s eyes, How to evaluate reference services from the angle of customers, is a most important aspects that we should take into account. customer-usefulness analysis evaluation including:

1) customer analysis

① customer`s usage frequency

② valuable customer amount

2) usefulness analysis

① possible arranged service links

② response speed and feedback efficiency

③ satisfaction degree of the service results to customers` demands

4.3 the integrated evaluate mode of reference services

5 In the end

Modern reference services would not exist without customers, only high reference service quality can attract and keep a certain amount customers.

So when we set about to provide reference services, first we must make sure about what the truthful meaning of service quality is, from the standpoints of both librarians and customers.

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