Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: [DIG_REF] Virtual reference policies

Expand Messages
  • David P. Dillard
    The comments that Bill Drew made regarding the ten foot away from the reference desk issue says in part the same thing that I have been thinking about as I
    Message 1 of 31 , Apr 10 7:55 AM
    View Source
    • 0 Attachment
      The comments that Bill Drew made regarding the ten foot away from the
      reference desk issue says in part the same thing that I have been thinking
      about as I read the initial post. Not only however, could physical
      disability be the motivation in seeking remote help when in person service
      is at hand. To show ones face at the reference desk or at any public
      service location forces a client to stand behind the question they are
      asking quite literally. They are there and a face is matched to the
      question. A person feeling that they are asking a less than bright
      question or a person who is just plain afraid to talk to a professional or
      other person face to face may find comfort and courage to ask behind the
      fig leaves of anonymity. By providing alternative ways of doing things,
      libraries intentionally or not are providing tools for people with
      differing styles of learning to approach their information needs as well
      as providing some support for the distance student and those working at
      home with their information need guidance.

      Indeed it is not impossible that virtual reference services may become the
      kind of service that becomes mandated with case law and executive
      regulation implementation of legislation like the Americans with
      Disabilities Act. Even the threat of such a need down the road might be a
      good bargaining chip for funding for these programs in some institutions
      where funding has not been as forthcoming as providers of the service and
      reference departments may have wanted.


      Sincerely,
      David Dillard
      Temple University
      (215) 204 - 4584
      jwne@...
      <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NetGold/>
      <http://www.edu-cyberpg.com/ringleaders/davidd.html>
      <http://www.kovacs.com/medref-l/medref-l.html>

      ============================================

      On Fri, 9 Apr 2004, Drew, Bill wrote:

      > What is the issue here? What difference does it make as long as the patron
      > is part of your user community? I remember my first encounter with e-mail
      > as a reference tool close to 15 years ago here. I got an e-mail via our old
      > vax mail system. The student was asking how to use various reference tools.
      > We exchanged many messages over the next few months. He finally came to the
      > deskone day to meet me in person. It turned out he had a very severe speech
      > impedidment. If I had required him to come in for help in person the first
      > time he might never have used the library again.

      > Bill Drew

      > > -----Original Message-----
      > > From: Holly Sammons [mailto:sammons@...]
      > > Sent: Friday, April 09, 2004 11:41 AM
      > > To: DIG_REF@...
      > > Subject: Re: [DIG_REF] Virtual reference policies

      > > This reminds me of a recent virtual question we got from a
      > > patron that was sitting in our library, not 10 feet from the
      > > reference desk. 10feet from a LIVE in-the-flesh LIBRARIAN!
      > > yet she logged on to vr with the question. Needless to say
      > > the vr naysayers made the most out of this one.

      ---
      To sign off from DIG_REF, send a
      message to LISTSERV@...
      with the command SIGNOFF DIG_REF.
    • Quinn, Todd
      Is it funny/frustrating that patrons who are so close do not use face to face contact? Yes. Being in the library offers the patron the best of the physical
      Message 31 of 31 , Apr 13 11:49 AM
      View Source
      • 0 Attachment
        Is it funny/frustrating that patrons who are so close do not use face to face contact? Yes. Being in the library offers the patron the best of the physical and electronic resources. BUT, A library or consortium either offers the service completely or not at all. We are librarians and not mind readers. The patron decides based on his/her personal preferences how he/she wants to use the library and seek assistance from librarians We offer this service for the patrons benefit (though not being slaves either).

        The funniest situation I have encounter, once a patron asked me in person to help her use our virtual reference service.

        Todd Quinn
        Instruction/Reference Librarian
        Dakota State University


        -----Original Message-----
        From: Anna Yackle [mailto:ayackle@...]
        Sent: Monday, April 12, 2004 9:20 AM
        To: DIG_REF@...
        Subject: Re: [DIG_REF] Virtual reference policies


        David your response is very thoughtful and insightful. I have worked in
        academic, law firm, and public libraries and helped create a virtual
        reference service. The guiding force in all my endeavors is to help the
        enduser.

        I remember my own frustration with libraries started in junior high. We
        were told we were only going to be shown once how to find the microfilm;
        how to thread it on the reader printer; and how to make copies. Then we
        were supposed to just do it and not ask the librarian for help. This
        seemed to be the pattern of my instruction throughout high school,
        college, and graduate school. My B.A. is in Political Science and I
        remember many fruitless and futile attempts to decipher the government
        documents classification system. I needed help but I felt I could not
        ask for it.

        A few years later, when I was in library school we were shown the GSLIS
        library and told we could not ask the librarians for help unless we were
        on fire.

        Over the years, my experiences in public libraries weren't much better.
        I hated libraries until I started working in them. Then I found out what
        wealth libraries have to share and have devoted my life to helping
        others make this same discovery. I love libraries, librarians, and our
        profession, but I think sometimes we get too dogmatic in our practices
        and adherence to rules. We all want to help our users, that is why we
        are in this business.

        Without meaning to be too preachy, I beg everyone to keep in mind that
        rules or procedures should never stand in the way of common
        sense,personal discretion, or the ability to help someone. This rule
        should apply in the virtual setting as well as the physical one.

        Anna Yackle
        North Suburban Library System

        -----Original Message-----
        From: David P. Dillard [mailto:jwne@...]
        Sent: Sunday, April 11, 2004 9:21 AM
        To: DIG_REF@...
        Subject: Re: [DIG_REF] Virtual reference policies


        Thanks to Valerie J. Doyle for commenting on my post. I never cease to
        be amazed at those who think that learning "how to search" is a simple
        task that can be taught in an hour or two. I cannot be at all dispute
        Valerie for being critical of such commentary in a publication.
        Certainly one can learn to search easily if searching is the combination
        of two words with and, but if that is searching, medical practice is
        putting a bandaid on a paper cut. If that is searching, why do Dialog
        Blue Sheets show such complex search capabilities in the area of field
        limitation? Why, if that is searching do some of the better databanks
        provide multi-step searching? Much graduate research and many
        undergraduate term papers involve complex topics that can be described
        in several groups of terms and phrases with each group containing
        synonyms in the context of the search. Of course some searches can be
        done very simply, but in my experience, most require varying degrees of
        planning and the work continues in execution and in preparing the search
        for different search interfaces. Turning searching over to
        undergraduates with say an hours training in the field including hands
        on in the second half of that hour is like taking a ten year old who has
        learned to ride a moped and entering that ten year old in the
        Indianapolis 500.

        Furthermore, searching skills require the honing of practice. Like any
        skill, one must use that skill regularly to maintain and increase ones
        ability in the performance of the activities that task requires. The
        end user confronts databases only when needed, an undergraduate say four
        or five times a year, give or take, perhaps. How good would somebody's
        tennis game become if they practiced or played no more than five times a
        year? How many graduate or undergraduate students tell their friends
        that they are otherwise free but cannot get together on a given weekend
        because they need to spend the weekend practicing database searching
        techniques?

        Remember, databases are unlike print indexes in that a search of two
        terms combined with 'and' in a database usually is searching the full
        text of the record, be it an abstracted citation or a complete article
        and not subject headings. In such lengthy text content, the combination
        of two words with 'and' does not often buy the searcher much precision.
        Limiting by field, proximity searching, limiting by type of document are
        among the searching skills that take time to teach and most librarians
        simply do not get that kind of time with clients. Hence, some method of
        mediation is necessary in using databases effectively for many end
        users. The failure to provide this help can cause some some students to
        head to the friendlier confines of the familiar Google world or to a
        paper mill where they do not need all of these skills to find what they
        are looking for, they think. One could ask the question, if library
        skills such as searching can be learned in brief classes by
        undergraduates, why is a master's degree required of practitioners in
        this field?


        Sincerely,
        David Dillard
        Temple University
        (215) 204 - 4584
        jwne@...
        <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NetGold/>
        <http://www.edu-cyberpg.com/ringleaders/davidd.html>
        <http://www.kovacs.com/medref-l/medref-l.html>

        ==========================================

        On Sat, 10 Apr 2004, Valerie J. Doyle wrote:

        > I just finished reading a chapter in a text (I am and MLS student) and

        > was totally amazed that the author suggests that we always do the work

        > for the patron and not do any instruction. He thinks our jobs will go

        > away if we teach others to do their own searching. I agree with what
        > is said below-teach when we can but be ready to do everything possible

        > to help the patron that truly needs it. Valerie

        > -----Original Message-----
        > From: Dig_Ref [mailto:dig_ref@...] On Behalf Of David P.
        > Dillard
        > Sent: Saturday, April 10, 2004 9:15 AM
        > To: DIG_REF@...
        > Subject: Re: [DIG_REF] Virtual reference policies

        > If I may be permitted to speak out of both sides of my mouth in the
        > same half hour, I also agree strongly with this poster. I think
        > students need to learn to use libraries, print and virtual, and that
        > they need to come into the library as often as possible. I usually
        > walk a person to a computer terminal and ask them to look a book or
        > periodical for location information rather than doing it myself. I
        > guide them step by step in the process. Likewise, a person asking a
        > virtual reference question online must have internet access. So on a
        > question of say using the online catalog to determine holdings, I
        > provide guidance rather than the call number. If this is not possible

        > due to some special problem that this client has, then I provide
        > assistance rather than instruction. For example, in person, an
        > individual with hands that shake so badly that they cannot manipulate
        > a mouse, is not a good candidate for instruction. Remotely, the client

        > would need to inform us of such problems. What to do when a perfectly

        > able client refuses to help themselves with an attitude like this is
        > your job not mine could be the subject of a lively debate and perhaps
        > no correct answers. Fortunately this kind of you are here to serve me,

        > where are my slippers, kind of client is on the wane and has not been
        > seen often recently, but I still get a few of these encounters. Like
        > the shoe store customer that insists that the shoe salesperson put on
        > the shoes for them, the client that insists that one look up a book
        > and tell them the call number while standing in front of you are few
        > and often are likely to be an older person, perhaps afraid of using
        > computers.


        > Sincerely,
        > David Dillard
        > Temple University
        > (215) 204 - 4584
        > jwne@... <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NetGold/>
        > <http://www.edu-cyberpg.com/ringleaders/davidd.html>
        > <http://www.kovacs.com/medref-l/medref-l.html>

        > ------------------------------------------

        > On Fri, 9 Apr 2004, Paolino, Bob wrote:

        > > Jennifer Duvernay [mailto:Jennifer.Duvernay@...] wrote on
        > 09-April-2004
        > > 12:01:

        > > > I think both of these situations are valid uses of VR

        > > [snip]

        > > > the option of chat. And others have commented that they are too
        > > > busy, don't want to deal with parking, in a rush, etc. and are
        > > > happy to be able to make use of VR to get help, even if they are
        > > > only across campus, or a few blocks away. We are meeting their
        > > > needs, and that is our goal.

        <snip>

        ---
        To sign off from DIG_REF, send a
        message to LISTSERV@...
        with the command SIGNOFF DIG_REF.

        ---
        To sign off from DIG_REF, send a
        message to LISTSERV@...
        with the command SIGNOFF DIG_REF.

        ---
        To sign off from DIG_REF, send a
        message to LISTSERV@...
        with the command SIGNOFF DIG_REF.
      Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.