July 31, 2004

How important is the reference interview?

This is a fascinating article for any working on a library public service desk and interested in providing good reference. Has the Internet Changed Anything in Reference? The Library Visit Study, Phase 2 by Catherine Sheldrick Ross and Kirsti Nilsen. Published in Reference & User Services Quarterly (RUSQ) (previously RQ) and the 2002 Reference Services Press Award winner.

Using data from 2000, this study concludes library staff will be using the Internet more and more for reference questions but

Users still need help in formulating their questions, identifying what they need to know, considering alternative search terms, and evaluating retrieved hits.

This research supports earlier studies that show that successful interactions at the reference desk happen only when effective reference interviews are conducted. Necessary elements include clarification of the question, recognition of what the patron already has searched, analysis of the question, identification of potential resources, and consistent use of follow-up questions. Although the Internet undoubtedly will become increasingly important as a reference resource, there is still a large role for the information professional as intermediary. The Internet is not the store next door.

Check out "Reference Interview Skills" workshop materials from the Infopeople Project's Past Workshop Materials section.

Posted by leita at 07:39 AM

Great wedding!

I'm back from a visit to my sister's farm in Minnesota, attending the festivities for my nephew Clint's wedding.
Our accomodations
the cabin, aka shangri la

Sunrise view from the cabin
sunrise view from the cabin

More photos will eventually appear in my Photo Gallery.

Posted by leita at 07:28 AM

July 20, 2004

Virtual Reference Course

Anytime, Anywhere Answers: Building Skills for Virtual Reference "is a training curriculum that addresses core competencies—the critical skills, abilities and aptitudes—for library staff providing virtual reference services. The curriculum was created for the Statewide Virtual Reference Project by Mary Ross and Daria Cal, Seattle Public Library, assisted by Emily Keller, a student at the University of Washington Information School."

The great thing about this resource is that you don't have to register to see a lot of the terrific material that's been prepared for the course. A few of the several PDF files available include core competencies for virtual reference, tips for using chat, and how to efficiently set up your desktop. Your federal tax dollars (LSTA) at work.
[from the virtual reference blog lbr]

Posted by leita at 09:19 AM

July 19, 2004

Infojones feed burst

OK, it's done. I've just finished adding all the relevant posts from my old Infojones blog at Blogger.com.

Posted by leita at 09:48 AM

Medical Metasearch Engine

This new resource looks like a keeper. I'm facing a hip replacement and have been doing some extensive research on the web. A search or two on this new engine has found great material I'd not yet found.

OmniMedicalSearch.com, a medical metasearch engine, has launched. Targeted for both the general public and medical professionals, OmniMedicalSearch.com covers 25 databases including medical search engines, image libraries, and health and medical news. OmniMedicalSearch.com search options include: 12 Medical Search Engines (Default Search); eight Health and Medical News Sources; five Medical Image Libraries; MedPro Search for medical professionals; Basic Search for the general public; Related Search Options; Single Site Search Focus; and One-Click Dictionary look up. [from EContent]
Posted by leita at 07:45 AM

July 16, 2004

Human Touch

Excellent reasoning from MaryLaine Block in her July 16, 2004 Ex Libris essay on the importance of face-to-face in libraries.

I would suggest cross-training all library staff so that all of them, no matter what their normal job, can do circulation tasks, help people find the meeting rooms, and provide basic assistance with computers, printers, the online catalog, and copy machines.

When I say ALL staff, incidentally, I include even the library director. That's because this solution would do more than maximize human interactions. It would also give everybody a chance to meet the public they're serving, many of whom never approach the reference desk, and to hear their questions, suggestions, and complaints.

The people at the circ desk are the first to know if the library needs more copies of the new Dan Brown book, better signage, more computers so people don't have to wait so long, better sound baffling for the children's room, more Christian romances, cleaner bathrooms, a better-lit parking lot, and more restrictions on what kids can check out. The circulation desk is also where most of our customers first come in contact with our rules, so time spent there is an opportunity to find out exactly what our customers think of them.

Posted by leita at 08:54 AM

July 15, 2004

Overused phrases

My candidate - "wealth of information" -- in Google [864,000] -- in Yahoo [1,780,000]

Posted by leita at 03:02 PM

July 14, 2004

Another "Librarian" movie

Perhaps the first The Librarian film. A 10 minute vocational guidance film from 1947. Via the Internet Archive. Can also see a 7 second excerpt if you're bandwith-challenged.

Posted by leita at 06:07 AM

July 13, 2004

Copyright Duration Chart

Peter B. Hirtle has just published an updated version of his copyright duration chart, Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States. "The section on unpublished works has been updated to reflect copyright status as of 1 January 2004. A new section on the U.S. copyright status of works published outside of the U.S. has also been added. And in order to facilitate printing, a PDF version of the file is available as well." From Mary Minow's LibraryLaw Blog.

Posted by leita at 06:23 AM | Comments (1)

July 12, 2004

What I'm doing on July 30

What's being billed as rock's great lost concert film is coming to my hometown on July 30! If you listen to the Dead, Joplin, the Band, Buddy Guy. Sha Na Na, etc. take a look at the official Final Express site for scheduled openings, film clips, sound files, trailer, interviews, set lists, and more.

Posted by leita at 07:28 AM

July 11, 2004

Web ranking tool

This little tool et Google PageRank, Yahoo! Backlinks, & Alexa traffic rating with one search and no cookies.

Posted by leita at 06:35 AM

July 10, 2004

Ask a Librarian in Spanish

Servicios de referencia en español. From the New York Public Library. I think this is the only service of its kind in the U.S. In addition to offering Spanish language chat reference (without requiring the user to be from the NYPL system), there is also a good list of Spanish language websites, classified under thirty plus subject categories, entitled "sitios del Web." Useful to Spanish-speakers for answering a range of questions. Both services are available from the link, Información en Vivo.

Posted by leita at 07:54 AM

July 09, 2004

Why a blog?

Because I'm always running across useful and interesting items while using the web. I incorporate many into my way of working and others are just interesting to me. Thought I'd set up a blog as a way to learn more about blogging and to remember what I'd found and to share with whoever reads it.

Posted by leita at 07:08 AM