Online from: 1973
Subject Area: Library and Information Studies
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|Title:||Reference models in the electronic library: The Miller Learning Center at the University of Georgia|
|Author(s):||Caroline Cason Barratt, (Miller Learning Center, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, USA), Phoebe Acheson, (Miller Learning Center, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, USA), Emily Luken, (Miller Learning Center, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, USA)|
|Citation:||Caroline Cason Barratt, Phoebe Acheson, Emily Luken, (2010) "Reference models in the electronic library: The Miller Learning Center at the University of Georgia", Reference Services Review, Vol. 38 Iss: 1, pp.44 - 56|
|Keywords:||Academic libraries, Learning, Reference services, Research, Undergraduates|
|Article type:||Case study|
|DOI:||10.1108/00907321011020716 (Permanent URL)|
|Publisher:||Emerald Group Publishing Limited|
|Acknowledgements:||The authors would like to thank Sandra Riggs, Nadine Cohen, and Elizabeth White for the information they provided in support of this report. Additionally, Brad Baxter provided statistics on GALILEO, Phil Fitzpatrick provided statistics on GIL. Thanks to the UGA Libraries Reference Department for their support during the implementation of these experiments and for their thoughts on the project.|
Purpose – This study aims to describe reference service activity within a learning commons at a large research university. The researchers tested several reference models in order to explore new ways of providing research support to their patrons within the electronic library. The aim was to discover student responses to different models and to investigate patron need of, and desire for, research support at the learning commons.
Design/methodology/approach – The researchers combined measurements of type and frequency of reference traffic both in person and through their online chat reference service. They also gathered quantitative and qualitative information during the reference model experiments and through a survey of patrons in order to discover patron use of, and thoughts concerning, reference service in the electronic library.
Findings – Results from reference model experiments and a survey of patrons show that there is indeed an audience for research assistance in the electronic library and that in-person research support is the preferred method of service. To keep pace with student needs, the researchers will continue to experiment with reference models that support in-person research assistance beyond the traditional reference desk.
Practical implications – The researchers provide examples and guidelines for introducing new reference services in a learning commons environment and suggest ideas for further experimentation with reference models in a predominantly electronic environment.
Originality/value – The results of this study will be of interest to academic librarians, especially those who have or are planning a learning commons. This research is also of interest to those studying student research behavior and attitudes towards library collections and services. Because this learning commons is a unique environment as a stand-alone electronic library, computing, and classroom space, this study makes an original contribution to the literature. As planners of learning commons explore models that move away from the traditional library, this study will inform the possible implications of new designs for reference service.
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