ASK A LIBRARIAN

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ASK A LIBRARIAN

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2. ASK A LIBRARIAN COLLABORATIVE PROJECT OF CROATIAN PUBLIC LIBRARIES PILOT STUDY

3. INTRO 15 Croatian public libraries joined their hands (and brains) and offered a new service to the public: ASK A LIBRARIAN, online reference inquiry service Wonder how? Here’s the story…

4. TIMELINE Things started to move during LIDA 2003 June 2003: the initial group of librarians started discussing relevant issues through a mailing list B. Bosancic and G. Tuškan presented a project initiative in the poster session. Here much credit goes to Mrs. Tatjana Aparac-Jelušic who helped and defined this initial phase and enabled the poster to be presented at LIDA Conference Initial meeting of reference librarians interested in the project took place over a pizza in Dubrovnik ? we decided to write a project and try to bring it to life B. Bosancic and G. Tuškan presented a project initiative in the poster session. Here much credit goes to Mrs. Tatjana Aparac-Jelušic who helped and defined this initial phase and enabled the poster to be presented at LIDA Conference Initial meeting of reference librarians interested in the project took place over a pizza in Dubrovnik ? we decided to write a project and try to bring it to life

5. TIMELINE Fall and winter 2003: we worked hard defining the pilot project September 2003: we applied for funding from Ministry of culture December 2003: CARNET provided server for our website January 2004: the new service started replying users’ inquiries January 2nd – testing started, Jan 19th the service opened to the public January 2nd – testing started, Jan 19th the service opened to the public

6. PILOT PROJECT Project coordinator: Zdenka Sviben, Zagreb City Libraries Webmaster: Boris Badurina, Faculty of Philosophy, Osijek 15 participating libraries 18 participating librarians We have to be grateful to these two people for having the service today, because they put the most effort into itWe have to be grateful to these two people for having the service today, because they put the most effort into it

7. PARTICIPATING LIBRARIES

8. PILOT PROJECT - RATIONALE Explore possibilities of implementing online reference services in public libraries in Croatia Offer this type of service as regular public library service Croatian public libraries become more present on the Internet and more often they receive inquiries by e-mail While thinking about the new service, we had in mind certain documents: Green Paper on public sector information in the information society by European Comission (1999) IFLA/UNESCO Public Library Manifesto The Public Library Service : IFLA/UNESCO Guidelines for Development etc. While thinking about the new service, we had in mind certain documents: Green Paper on public sector information in the information society by European Comission (1999) IFLA/UNESCO Public Library Manifesto The Public Library Service : IFLA/UNESCO Guidelines for Development etc.

9. WEBSITE AND DATABASE Librarian section (administration) Web site directory Inbox Info User section Info about the project Use policy Links to web directory and inquiry form Web site directory contains a bit over 400 linksWeb site directory contains a bit over 400 links

10. http://public.srce.hr/pitajte-knjiznicare

11. FIGURES… Number of questions received January 19 – May 5 2004: 92 Users were asking: Factual questions (4) Relevant literature lists (various school papers, reports…) (43) Questions directed to specific libraries (about collections, opening hours…) (11) Factual questions about books (translations, information on authors…) (23) Other (7) Statistics: May 4Statistics: May 4

12. USER PROFILE Female (68.1%) Age: up to 30 (75.8%) Average user of “Ask a librarian” serviceAverage user of “Ask a librarian” service

13. USER PROFILE 2

14. USER EVALUATION OF THE SERVICE Mostly satisfied (71 %) Users expect answers to be more concrete and elaborate They find promptness more than satisfying Most users tried to search for an answer through web site directory, but they didn’t find it helpful We ask all the users to return evaluation mail but only few do so.We ask all the users to return evaluation mail but only few do so.

15. PROBLEMS…YOU CAN’T GET AWAY FROM Insufficient and inadequate information sources in Croatian language ? a language barrier No available databases in Croatian National bibliography not up to date Not enough special bibliographies Magazines and proceedings not analized and catalogued properly Lack of advanced features in OPACs Most of the problems concern availability of information sources, but there are also others: reference librarians participating in the project often lack the time to devote to the project – this is just another thing that they have to do in their working hours, on top of everything else. This is probably the reason why our web site directory does not contain as much relevant sites as we would want it to – searching and browsing web sites is a time-consuming activityMost of the problems concern availability of information sources, but there are also others: reference librarians participating in the project often lack the time to devote to the project – this is just another thing that they have to do in their working hours, on top of everything else. This is probably the reason why our web site directory does not contain as much relevant sites as we would want it to – searching and browsing web sites is a time-consuming activity

16. PLANS FOR THE (NEAR) FUTURE Marketing Create a reliable directory of relevant web sites Staff training User education (presentations in schools, universities, libraries) Funding We have to offer information about the service to the public Staff training – reference librarians in our libraries are often new to complex information searches on the Internet, unfamiliar with databases …. Funding – the project started with small financial contributions from each of participating libraries. Library managers agreed that they will enable their librarians to work on the project in their working hours. Although the project requires minimal financial investments, we have to deal with this issue, to ensure that the service can be provided continuously.We have to offer information about the service to the public Staff training – reference librarians in our libraries are often new to complex information searches on the Internet, unfamiliar with databases …. Funding – the project started with small financial contributions from each of participating libraries. Library managers agreed that they will enable their librarians to work on the project in their working hours. Although the project requires minimal financial investments, we have to deal with this issue, to ensure that the service can be provided continuously.

17. The Crew

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