Go to:
Discussion
Online Doc
File
Poll
Event
Picture
Don Boozer's picture

Summary of Current Activites for RSS/MARS VR Services Committee

The RSS/MARS Virtual Reference Services Committee held its official meeting at ALA Annual in New Orleans on Saturday, June 25, as part of the RSS All-Committee meeting. Eight people were in attendance. The primary goal of the meeting was final planning for the committee's sponsored program held on Monday, June 27, at 8:00 a.m.: Behind the Text: Pulling Back the Curtain on Virtual Reference. In the end, the program was quite successful with 135 attendees and several people offering congratulations and asking for the presenters' slides.

The committee also discussed the program pending approval by RUSA Board for ALA Annual 2012 on evaluation of virtual reference services: (tentatively titled) "Are Virtual Reference Services Worth the Effort?". Panelists and a moderator have all been tentatively confirmed. Ideas for ALA Annual 2013 were also briefly brainstormed at the meeting.

The Virtual Reference Tutorial Subcommittee reported on their exemplary work in updating the Online VR Tutorial. They are awaiting the migration of the ALA site to Drupal to update specific aspects of the tutorial, but they are prepared to move forward with two currently updated modules.

The committee plans to conduct their official midwinter virtually in January 2012.

Don Boozer's picture

The VR Services Committee is hosting a program at the ALA Annual 2012 entitled "Are virtual reference services worth the effort? What ROI Analysis and User Evaluations Tell Us". Panelists are confirmed, and Dr. Joe Janes has given tentative confirmation to serve as moderator.

The committee will be discussing ideas for the 2013 ALA Annual via email and other means. The focus currently under consideration is to do something with gadgets or technology since the last several Annual programs have focused on other aspects of virtual reference service.

In keeping with its goals, the MARS/RSS Virtual Reference Services Committee has created the "RUSA MARS/RSS VR Committee Survey Ad Hoc Group". Jason Coleman, an active member of the Virtual Reference Tutorial Subcommittee as well as Undergraduate & Community Services Librarian at Kansas State University, has volunteered to lead the new group. They are charged with conducting an online survey to assess the distribution and logistics of virtual reference services in libraries. Jason has asked individuals to contact him at at coleman@k-state.edu.

The VR Services Committee is also exploring ways to update existing virtual reference content in online venues like Wikipedia, LISWiki, LibSuccess, etc. Options under consideration include sponsoring a Wikipedia "Edit-a-thon" at Annual Conference, creating a Twitter hashtag, inaugurating a Google Group, etc.

 

Don Boozer's picture

The RSS/MARS Virtual Reference Services Committee held its official meeting at ALA Annual in Anaheim on Saturday, June 23, as part of the RSS All-Committee meeting. Twelve people were in attendance. One of the primary goals of the meeting was final planning for the committee's sponsored program held on Saturday, June 23, at 1:30-3:30pm: "Are Virtual Reference Services Worth the Effort? What ROI Analysis and User Evaluations Tell Us". The program was successful with approximately 150 people attending. For more information, check out the program's page on ALA Connect.

We are partnering with the RSS Marketing Committee on a webinar prior to Annual 2013 with Bill Pardue with a Discussion Forum planned for Annual 2013 itself. We will also be considering some sort of "bridge" activity between the webinar and Annual.

With the Virtual Reference Tutorial Subcommittee now having access to the Drupal installation, they are moving ahead with posting content. They have renamed the "Tutorial" as the "Virtual Reference Companion" and aim to make it applicable to both managers/supervisors of VR service but also frontline VR librarians. We are very excited about their progress and what they have planned.

We are also looking at a change in our official mission statement to fold in the charge of the now-disbanded Cooperative Reference Services Committee to "To identify and study issues relating to virtual reference services, and to evaluate and promote technological and service standards, guidelines, and 'best practices' for local and cooperative virtual reference services in all types of libraries." We will be working with MARS and RSS to accomplish this.

Jason Coleman is moving ahead with the Survey Ad Hoc Group. He has recruited 2 people to help in designing and distributing the survey to determine the current state of virtual reference services.

The committee will be considering a Wikipedia edit-a-thon either Midwinter and/or Annual.

The committee plans to conduct our official midwinter meeting virtually with a time to be determined.

For more information on our official meeting at Annual 2012, please refer to our meeting minutes.

Don Boozer's picture

The RSS/MARS Virtual Reference Services (VRS) Committee held its official midwinter meeting online on Friday, February 15, 2013. For a recording and agenda, click here.

The committee is partnering with the RSS Marketing and Public Relations Committee on a webinar (in May 2013) and a related discussion forum at ALA Annual 2013 featuring Bill Pardue: Slam the Boards! A Model for Marketing through Action.

The committee is also partnering with the RSS Evaluation of Reference and User Services (ERUS) Committee to form ad hoc team to construct and conduct a survey to ascertain the current state of virtual reference. The team will be comprised of two volunteers from ERUS and two from our committee. The hope is to have the members of that team report to ERUS and VRS at Annual 2013 in Chicago.

An informal Wikipedia Edit-a-thon event (hosted by VRS) is planned to be held in the Networking Uncommons area of ALA Annual in Chicago. An initial meeting was held at Midwinter in Seattle, and a number of interesting ideas were proposed. Plans are on-going.

Don Boozer's picture

The partnership with the RSS Marketing and Public Relations Committee for the Slam the Board series (webinar: May 2013; "Slamming": June 10; in-person discussion forum: June 2013 @ Annual) was a success. The participants were treated to both background on the Slam the Boards initiative itself and also practical ideas on marketing reference services for their own institutions.

The partnership with the RSS Evaluation of Reference and User Services (ERUS) Committee is on-going. The ad hoc virtual reference survey team presented a preliminary draft at our committee's meeting at Annual. They are planning to continue to revise it (and the draft will also be shared with incoming MARS chair, Sam Stormont).

The informal drop-in Wikipedia Edit-a-thon was held in the Networking Uncommons area of the McCormick Place Convention Center from 11am to 2pm on Sunday at Annual. Although only 14 people stopped by, there was a lively discussion on Wikipedia's potential uses by libraries as a tool to provide access to resources and to promote libraries' collections. One participant shared the article (Honan-Allston Branch of Boston PL) she created from scratch as a library school student (including photos she took). One participant who had never edited Wikipedia articles before signed up for an account and edited her first article during the Edit-a-thon. Additionally, during the Joint RSS/MARS Executive Committee Meeting, attendees were intrigued by the idea of the Edit-a-thon and discussed ways something similar could be incorporated into section activities in the future.

Also at Annual, out-going RSS Chair, Don Boozer, introduced in-coming RSS Chair, Cathay Crosby, who most recently was Chair of the RSS Marketing and Public Relations for Reference Committee.