Virtual reference service evaluation: Adherence to RUSA behavioral guidelines and IFLA digital reference guidelines

Shachaf, Pnina and Horowitz, Sarah M. Virtual reference service evaluation: Adherence to RUSA behavioral guidelines and IFLA digital reference guidelines. Library & Information Science Research, 2008, vol. 30, n. 2, pp. 122-137. [Journal article (Paginated)]


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English abstract

This study evaluates the level of adherence to professional guidelines by virtual (e-mail) reference services. These professional guidelines are set up as standards to assure service quality; however, studies of virtual reference effectiveness rarely utilize these standards to measure reference success. This study evaluates and compares the level of adherence to two sets of professional guidelines that have been published by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) and the American Library Association (ALA) Reference and User Services Association (RUSA). Analysis of 324 transactions from 54 libraries showed: 1) low levels of adherence to both sets of guidelines; 2) varied levels of adherence based on request types and user names on both sets of guidelines; 3) variation in institutional rank when different sets of guidelines were utilized; 4) no correlation between user satisfaction and adherence to either set of guidelines. The implications of this study for future research and practice lie not only in its provision of a systematic way to analyze transactions in light of the ideal professional standards, but also in providing an empirical benchmark for virtual reference services evaluation.

Item type: Journal article (Paginated)
Keywords: virtual reference, virtual reference services, professional guidelines, RUSA guidelines, IFLA guidelines
Subjects: I. Information treatment for information services > IJ. Reference work.
Depositing user: Pnina Shachaf
Date deposited: 24 Oct 2008
Last modified: 02 Oct 2014 12:13


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