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The Geography of Virtual Questioning: Mapping Florida’s Ask-a-Librarian Service

Lorri Mon and Bradley Wade Bishop

(Submission #58)


As Web 2.0 expectations influence user expectations of libraries, new approaches to assessment are needed in understanding how online library systems and services are being used, and in tracking and bridging the “digital divide” to make Library 2.0 truly available to all users. In this study, GIS mapping is implemented to explore users’ question-asking in geographic context for Florida’s statewide “Ask a Librarian” service. Conducted in conjunction with the Florida State University’s Information Use Management and Policy Institute and funded by the Florida State Library, this project uses GIS mapping to examine where users in the 67 counties and school districts throughout the state have accessed and asked digital reference questions of the statewide consortial “Ask a Librarian” services, their demographics, and the types of questions they have asked. Patterns of use and non-use are discussed, as well as implications for how libraries and consortia might more effectively plan to collect data in virtual information services that can be utilized in conjunction with GIS mapping, in order to better understand the geography of online information-seeking and questioning behavior within the emerging landscape of the virtual Web 2.0 and Library 2.0 environment.


[Paper (DOC)]  

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