ERIC Number: ED457869
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2001-Nov
Reference Count: N/A
Trends and Issues in Digital Reference Services. ERIC Digest.
Kasowitz, Abby S.
The concept of digital reference is emerging as its own domain within the field of librarianship. This digest discusses issues that have surfaced recently in practice and research: provision of real-time reference service, collaborative efforts among networks of libraries and organizations, and development of quality and technical standards. Many libraries are trying to recreate the immediacy found in face-to-face reference interactions in a digital environment through use of synchronous, real-time technologies. Real-time reference tools can range in format from chat technologies and instant messaging software to Web contact center software. Many libraries and organizations have recognized the benefits of providing digital reference service through collaborative services. Collaborative digital reference services provide many benefits, such as allowing individual institutions to share expertise and resources, expanding hours of service, and providing access to a larger collection of knowledge. Challenges of collaboration can include ensuring the quality and consistency of responses, reaching consensus in developing procedures and policies, and configuring technology that can be best accessed and used by each participating group. With the growth of digital reference services and collaborative networks, there is a clear need for standards to ensure service quality and interoperable technology. Several efforts have been developed to identify standards in these areas, including the Virtual Reference Desk Project, Question Interchange Profile, and KnowledgeBit. As more libraries and organizations provide digital reference service and face issues regarding technology, procedure, and partnerships, these and other standards efforts will lead digital reference into the future. (Contains 24 references.) (AEF)
Descriptors: Computer Mediated Communication, Information Services, Internet, Library Cooperation, Library Development, Library Networks, Library Services, Online Systems, Reference Services, Standards, Trend Analysis, World Wide Web
ERIC Clearinghouse on Information & Technology, Syracuse University, 621 Skytop Rd., Suite 160, Syracuse, NY 13244-5290. Tel: 315-443-3640; Tel: 800-464-9107 (Toll Free); Fax: 315-443-5448; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://ericit.org.
Publication Type: ERIC Publications; ERIC Digests in Full Text
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: ERIC Clearinghouse on Information and Technology, Syracuse, NY.