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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
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

slide2
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?
slide7
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
librarian demographics n 25
Librarian Demographics (N=25)

76%, n=19

11.76

60%, n=15

52%, n=13

slide19
Successful Interactions

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

slide20
Successful Interactions

provided an “opportunity to educate the patron”

slide21
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.”

slide23
Collaboration
  • Majority collaborated >once a week
  • E-mail most common mode, then FtF
  • FtF easiest in shared physical settings
slide24
Reasons for Collaboration
  • Unable to answer question
  • Give user more comprehensive answer
slide25
Facilitators to Collaboration
  • Perceive other librarians as willing to help
  • Know who to ask for help
slide26
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.”

slide28
Collaboration with Subject Experts

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

slide29
Questions Appropriate for SQA
  • Objective, ready reference, fact-based
  • Yes/no questions
  • Questions based on experience or opinion
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
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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