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E-Valuating E-Reference: Transforming Digital Reference through Research and Evaluation

Marie Radford, Lynn Connaway, Jeffrey Pomerantz, Lorri Mon and Joseph Janes

ASIS&T 2008 Annual Meeting (AM08 2008)
Columbus, Ohio, October 24-29, 2008


Digital reference services are coming of age. Sloan (2006) has reported that e-mail reference has been going strong for 20 years and live chat-based reference for 10 years. Scholarly evaluation of these services has been growing, although several researchers have called for more evaluation (e.g., see Lankes, 2004; Nilsen, 2004; Pomerantz, 2005; Radford, 2006). This panel presents three exceedingly different approaches, methods of analysis, and methods of data collection in evaluation of digital reference formats including live chat and e-mail formats. This panel will culminate in a response from Joseph Janes, a well-known scholar in digital reference evaluation and service, and an interactive discussion with a substantial audience question and answer component. It is hoped that the audience for this session will consist of researchers and library practitioners in virtual environments, as well as those interested in general information service evaluation and user studies. The discussion will be led by the moderator.

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