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Digital reference: an analysis of its use by children and teenagers

Silverstein, Joanne; Walter, Virginia; Mediavilla, Cindy; Cool, Colleen.

Sparking Synergies: Bringing Research and Practice Together @ ASIST '05 (ASIS&T 2005)
Westin Charlotte, Charlotte, North Carolina, October 28 - November 2, 2005


The subject of how young people use the Web has been given considerable research attention recently, yet little of this research has focused explicitly on the subject of how children and young adults use the variety of online reference services currently available. This panel examines this issue by addressing the following questions: to what extent do children and teenagers know about, understand, and use the virtual reference services available on the web?; under what conditions do they turn to chat reference vs asynchronous modes?; how successful are they at communicating in either mode within this mediated interaction environment?; in what ways can online reference systems be improved to suit the specific needs of younger populations?

     Research addressing these questions will be discussed as it relates to these questions and to the further development of library science and communication theory in mediated, online reference environments used by youth.

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