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CoLIS Copenhagen, Denmark 19-22 August 2013. Conceptualizing Collaboration & Community in Virtual Reference & Social Q&A. Marie L. Radford, Ph.D . Chair, Dept. of Library & Information Science Rutgers University, NJ. Mark Alpert Ph.D. Student Rutgers University, NJ. Chirag Shah, Ph.D.

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Conceptualizing Collaboration & Community in Virtual Reference & Social Q&A

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Conceptualizing collaboration community in virtual reference social q a

CoLIS

Copenhagen, Denmark

19-22 August 2013

Conceptualizing Collaboration & Community in Virtual Reference & Social Q&A

Marie L. Radford, Ph.D.

Chair, Dept. of Library & Information Science

Rutgers University, NJ

Mark Alpert

Ph.D. Student

Rutgers University, NJ

Chirag Shah, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Rutgers University, NJ

Lynn SilipigniConnaway, Ph.D.

Senior Research Scientist

OCLC

Stephanie Mikitish

Ph.D. Student

Rutgers University, NJ

Nicole A. Cooke, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign


Conceptualizing collaboration community in virtual reference social q a

Cyber Synergy: Seeking Sustainability through Collaboration between Virtual Reference & Social Q&A Sites

  • Provide evidence for modeling new ways to collaborate in VRS

    • Collaboration with Social Q&A (SQA)

  • Three phases

    • Transcript Analysis

    • Telephone interviews

      • 50 librarian interviews, 50 user interviews

    • Design Sessions

      • Construct design specifications

  • http://www.oclc.org/research/activities/synergy/default.htm


    Virtual reference services vrs social q a sqa

    Virtual Reference Services (VRS) & Social Q&A (SQA)

    • VRS

      • Global reach

      • Anytime/anywhere access

      • Cooperative services may reduce costs

      • Librarians have deep subject expertise

    • SQA

      • Crowd-sourcing

      • Good in lean economic times

      • Social & collaborative

      • Anyone can provide answers


    Why cyber synergy

    Why Cyber Synergy?

    • Lack of library funding

      • Service reductions

      • Some VRS discontinued or endangered

    • Empirical data needed to explore possibilities to enhance VRS


    Research questions

    Research Questions

    • How can VRS become more collaborative, within and between libraries, & tap more effectively into librarians’ subject expertise?

    • What can VRS learn from SQA to better serve users & attract potential users?

    • How can we design systems & services within & between VRS and SQA for better quality and sustainability?

    • In what ways can the Communities of Practice (Wenger, 1998, 2004) framework contribute to our understanding of collaboration barriers & opportunities in the VRS environment?


    Theoretical framework communities of practice cop

    Theoretical Framework: Communities of Practice (CoP)


    Conceptualizing collaboration community in virtual reference social q a

    Communities of Practice (CoP):“Groups of people who share a concern, a set of problems, or a passion about a topic, and who deepen their knowledge and expertise in this area by interacting on an ongoing basis.”

    (Wenger, McDermott, & Snyder, 2002, p. 4)


    Distinct dimensions of cop

    Distinct Dimensions of CoP

    • Joint enterprises

    • Feature mutual engagement

    • Shared repertoire of resources & sensibilities


    More dimensions of cop

    More Dimensions of CoP

    • Learning focus

    • Depend on interactions between members

    • Voluntary

    • Customizable

    • Individual

    • Encourage members to solve problems & develop new approaches/tools

    • Share expertise, share weakness

    (Wenger, 1998, 2004)


    Barriers to cop

    Barriers to CoP

    • Insufficient time

    • “Information hoarding”

    • Low levels of collegiality

    • Shifting group memberships

    • Lack trust building opportunities

    • Geographical gaps

    • Promotes heterogeneity


    Vrs librarians as cop

    VRS Librarians as CoP

    • VRS librarians

      • Shared interest in serving user information needs

      • Operate within community for sharing information

      • Hold shared practice through MLIS degree


    Data collection phone interviews

    Data Collection – Phone Interviews

    • Phone interviews with 25 VRS librarians

      • Recruited via professional list-servs, personal contacts, & OCLC’s QuestionPoint (QP) librarian blog

      • Responses collected with SurveyMonkey

      • Anonymous


    Interview questions

    Interview Questions

    • Combination of open & closed questions

    • Topics

      • Collaboration

      • Referrals

      • Comparison of VRS to SQA

      • Critical incidents (Flanagan, 1954)


    Data analysis

    Data Analysis

    • Descriptive for demographic data & Likert style questions

    • Line-by-line qualitative analysis to identify:

      • Recurring themes

      • Representative quotations

    • Code book developed

    • NVivo software


    Results

    Results


    Librarian demographics n 25

    Librarian Demographics (N=25)

    76%, n=19

    11.76

    60%, n=15

    52%, n=13


    Conceptualizing collaboration community in virtual reference social q a

    Participants reported that VRS were slightly busier than FtF services


    Conceptualizing collaboration community in virtual reference social q a

    40% reported that overall reference volume was increasing


    Conceptualizing collaboration community in virtual reference social q a

    Successful Interactions

    “There were lots of happy faces, so the user seemed pleased.”


    Conceptualizing collaboration community in virtual reference social q a

    Successful Interactions

    provided an “opportunity to educate the patron”


    Conceptualizing collaboration community in virtual reference social q a

    Referrals

    One-quarter mentioned referring question to another librarian


    Difficulties

    Difficulties

    Barrier to Referrals

    Lack of lead time, usually because “the paper was due too soon for me to answer.”


    Conceptualizing collaboration community in virtual reference social q a

    • Collaboration

    • Majority collaborated >once a week

    • E-mail most common mode, then FtF

    • FtF easiest in shared physical settings


    Conceptualizing collaboration community in virtual reference social q a

    • Reasons for Collaboration

    • Unable to answer question

    • Give user more comprehensive answer


    Conceptualizing collaboration community in virtual reference social q a

    • Facilitators to Collaboration

    • Perceive other librarians as willing to help

    • Know who to ask for help


    Conceptualizing collaboration community in virtual reference social q a

    • Barriers to Collaboration

    “There are librarians who are hostile in body language and sometimes verbally if it interferes with their other duties. They have made it very clear that I should not ask and so I do not.”


    Vrs sqa compared

    VRS & SQA Compared


    Conceptualizing collaboration community in virtual reference social q a

    Collaboration with Subject Experts

    Librarians expressed a willingness to consult non-librarian experts, particularly professors


    Conceptualizing collaboration community in virtual reference social q a

    • Questions Appropriate for SQA

    • Objective, ready reference, fact-based

    • Yes/no questions

    • Questions based on experience or opinion


    Conclusion

    Conclusion


    Difficult questions

    Difficult Questions

    • Usually refer to another librarian

    • Factors in addressing/referring difficult questions

      • Content knowledge

      • Shared professional standards

      • Technological familiarity


    Collaboration

    Collaboration

    • Believe other librarians are willing to collaborate

      • Shared professional ideals and expertise

      • Seen as value-added service

      • FtF enables collaboration


    Sqa collaboration

    SQA & Collaboration

    • Librarians view SQA as:

      • Less authoritative

      • Less complex

      • Less objective

    • Not against collaborating with experts

      • Willing to expand CoP to other experts if demonstrate

        • Professional expertise

        • Extensive knowledge

      • Demonstrate professional expertise or extensive knowledge

    • Analysis of data from

      • Remaining librarian interviews

      • 50 VRS/SQA user interviews

      • 3 expert design sessions


    Conceptualizing collaboration community in virtual reference social q a

    VRS librarians constitute a CoP in approach to referrals & collaboration


    Next steps

    Next Steps

    • Analysis of data from

      • Remaining librarian interviews

      • 50 VRS/SQA user interviews

      • 3 expert design sessions


    References

    References

    Ardichvili, A., Page, V., & Wentling, T. (2002). Motivation and Barriers to Participation in Virtual Knowledge-Sharing Communities of Practice, Paper presented at 3rd European Conference on Organizational Knowledge, Learning and Capabilities (OKLC), Athens, Greece, 5-6 April.

    Correia, A. M. R., Paulos, A., & Mesquita, A. (2010). Virtual communities of practice: investigating motivations and constraints in the processes of knowledge creation and transfer. Electronic Journal of Knowledge Management 8(1), 11-20.

    Cramton, C. (2001). The mutual knowledge problem and its consequences for dispersed collaboration. Organization Science, 12, 346–371.

    Ellis, D., Oldridge, R., & Vasconcelos, A. (2004). Community and virtual community, Annual Review of Information Science and Technology, 38, 145–186.

    Faraj, S., & Wasko, M. M. (2001). The web of knowledge: an investigation of knowledge exchange in networks of practice. Retrieved from http://opensource.mit.edu/papers/Farajwasko.pdf

    Flanagan, J. C. (1954). The critical incident technique. Psychological Bulletin, 51(4), 327–358.

    Gannon-Leary, P., & Fontainha, E. (2007). Communities of practice and virtual learning communities: Benefits, barriers and success factors. eLearning Papers, 5. Retrieved from http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract id=1018066

    Gibson, C.B., & Manuel, J.A. (2003). Building trust: Effective multicultural communication processes in virtual teams. In C.B. Gibson & S.G. Cohen (Eds.), Virtual teams that work (pp. 59-86). San Francisco, CA: Wiley & Sons.

    Jarvenpaa, S., & Leidner, D. (1999). Communication and trust in global virtual teams. Organization Science, 10, 791–815.

    Kirkup, G. (2002). Identity, community and distributed learning. In M. Lea, & K. Nicoll, (Eds.), Distributed learning: Social, cultural approaches to practice (pp. 182-195). London: Routledge/Falmer.


    References1

    References

    Lave, J., & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

    McDermott, R. (1999) Learning across teams: How to build communities of practice in team organizations. Knowledge Management Review, 8, 32–36.

    Nincic, V. (2006). “Why don’t we trade places…”: Some issues relevant for the analysis of diasporic web communities as learning spaces. The international handbook of virtual learning environments (1067-1088). Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer.

    Radford, M. L., Connaway, L. S., & Shah, C. (2011-2013). Cyber Synergy: Seeking Sustainability through Collaboration between Virtual Reference and Social Q&A Sites. Funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), Rutgers University, and OCLC. Retrieved from http://www.oclc.org/research/activities/synergy/default.htm

    Ranganathan, S.R. (1957). The Five Laws of Library Science. Madras: Madras Library Association; London: G. Blunt and Sons.

    Roberts, J. (2006). Limits to communities of practice. Journal of Management Studies, 43(3), 623-639.

    Smith, P., Barty, K., & Stacey, E. (2005). Limitations of an established community of practice in developing online innovation, breaking down boundaries: international experience in open, distance and flexible education. Proceedings of the 17th ODLAA conference, 1-6, ODLAA, Adelaide.

    Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice: Learning, meaning, and identity. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

    Wenger, E. (2004). Knowledge management as a doughnut: Shaping your knowledge strategy through communities of practice. Ivey Business Journal, Jan – Feb., 1-8.

    Wenger, E., McDermott, R., & Snyder, W. M. (2002). Cultivating communities of practice: A guide to managing knowledge. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.


    Cyber synergy grant

    Cyber Synergy Grant

    • Cyber Synergy: Seeking Sustainability through Collaboration between Virtual Reference and Social Q & A Sites

    • $250,000.00 grant funded by IMLS, OCLC, and Rutgers University

    • Co-PIs

      • Marie L. Radford, Rutgers University

      • Lynn SilipigniConnaway, OCLC

      • Chirag Shah, Rutgers University


    Questions

    Marie L. Radford, Ph.D.

    Chair, Dept. of Library & Information Science

    Rutgers University, NJ

    [email protected]

    @MarieLRadford

    Mark Alpert

    Ph.D. Student

    Rutgers University, NJ

    [email protected]

    Questions?

    Chirag Shah, Ph.D.

    Associate Professor

    Rutgers University, NJ

    [email protected]

    Lynn SilipigniConnaway, Ph.D.

    Senior Research Scientist

    OCLC

    [email protected]

    @LynnConnaway

    Stephanie Mikitish

    Ph.D. Student

    Rutgers University, NJ

    [email protected]

    Nicole A. Cooke, Ph.D.

    Assistant Professor

    University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

    [email protected]


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