Digital versus Non-Digital Reference

Overview

Compare and contrast library reference models and more consumer-oriented models!

Digital versus Non-Digital Reference: Ask A Librarian Online and Offline analyzes the quality of commercial Ask A Librarian (AskA) and tutorial services and how they compare to traditional library services. Edited by Jessamyn West—proprietor of librarian.net and the “hippest ex-librarian on the Web” according to Wired magazine—the book looks at library models and more consumer-oriented models, ...

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Overview

Compare and contrast library reference models and more consumer-oriented models!

Digital versus Non-Digital Reference: Ask A Librarian Online and Offline analyzes the quality of commercial Ask A Librarian (AskA) and tutorial services and how they compare to traditional library services. Edited by Jessamyn West—proprietor of librarian.net and the “hippest ex-librarian on the Web” according to Wired magazine—the book looks at library models and more consumer-oriented models, examining a variety of services that range from Ask Jeeves® and Google Answers™ to your own reference desk and Web e-mail reference forms. Academic librarians and information specialists share their experiences—good and bad—in starting, assessing, or ending AskA services and in working with collaborative reference tools and outsourcing reference services, and discuss the highs and lows of dealing with individual online services.

Digital versus Non-Digital Reference: Ask A Librarian Online and Offline chronicles the experiences and interactions of librarians with digital reference, including case studies, how-to guides, and philosophical essays. The book’s contributors discuss their concerns about using the Internet as not only a reference tool but as a reference medium that most libraries find inevitable to some degree. Topics include the political ramifications of offsite or outsourced reference, the truth behind the assertion that “it’s all available online,” cultural and/or language barriers to text-based reference services, and patrons’ experiences with reference tools, from a librarian’s perspective.

Digital versus Non-Digital Reference: Ask A Librarian Online and Offline addresses:

  • policy, staffing and technology for telephone reference services
  • e-mail reference in public libraries
  • the University of Michigan’s Internet Public Library
  • archivists and remote users in the digital age
  • success and failure with commercial AskA programs
  • the history of Q and A NJ, New Jersey’s virtual reference service
  • multilingual chat reference systems
  • the ongoing debate over the value of digital reference
  • the case for nonintrusive reference
Digital versus Non-Digital Reference: Ask A Librarian Online and Offline is an invaluable resource for practitioners and academics on the appropriate assessment, technologies, and methods for successfully creating and operating human-mediated, Internet-based information services.
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What People Are Saying

Douglas Cook
IMPRESSIVE. . . . The broad scope of this book will provide the reader with an overall view of the current technologies and issues related to reference services. Rather than focusing on one technology, the book takes an expansive view and includes chapters on the many facets of this topic. A variety of library types are covered: academic libraries, archives, law libraries, state systems, and large urban public libraries.
DEd, Reference Librarian, Shippensburg University
Jenny Tobias
USEFUL FOR LIBRARIES CONSIDERING CHAT REFERENCE SERVICE. Public, law, and academic libraries are represented, as are archives and commercial services. The chapter on planning multilingual chat reference service will be useful for libraries with diverse populations.
MLS, Librarian, Collection Development, Museum of Modern Art, New York City
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Product Details

Table of Contents

  • Preface (Jessamyn West)
  • SECTION ONE: THE OLD versus THE NEW
  • Have(n’t) We Been Here Before? Lessons from Telephone Reference (M. Kathleen Kern)
  • E-Mail Reference as Substitute for Library Receptionist (Susan M. Braxton and Maureen Brunsdale)
  • The Internet Public Library as a Teaching Tool for Shockingly Traditional Reference Skills (Abigail Leah Plumb)
  • “Contact Us”: Archivists and Remote Users in the Digital Age (Katharine A. Salzmann)
  • Characteristics of E-Mail Reference Services in Selected Public Libraries, Victoria, Australia (Doreen Sullivan)
  • SECTION TWO: HOW WE DO IT HERE
  • Predicting the Success of Commercial AskA Services in the United States and Abroad (Jenny Baum and Kate Lyons)
  • Wired New Jersey: Q and A NJ (Carol Van Houten)
  • Library LAWLINE: Collaborative Virtual Reference in a Special Library Consortium (Scott Matheson)
  • Planning for Multilingual Chat Reference in a Suburban Public Library System (Edana McCaffery Cichanowicz and Nan Chen)
  • SECTION THREE: A FEW THINGS TO THINK ABOUT
  • The Social Life of Digital Reference: What the Technology Affords (Mita Sen-Roy)
  • The Case for Non-Intrusive Research: A Virtual Reference Librarian’s Perspective (Bruce Jensen)
  • Index
  • Reference Notes Included
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