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Reference Research Review: 2013


Here is our final copy of the Reference Research Review for 2013!  I have also uploaded this bibliography as a word document.  Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or suggestions!  Thanks to the committee for working together and producing a beautiful bibliography!



Ava Iuliano Brillat, Chair



Reference Research Review: 2013

An annual bibliography highlighting selected works in the reference literature.

Items selected and annotated by members of the American Library Association, RUSA/RSS Research & Statistics Committee (2013-2014)

Bonnet, J. L., & McAlexander, B. (2013). First impressions and the reference encounter: The influence of affect and clothing on librarian approachability. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 39(4), 335-346. doi:10.1016/j.acalib.2012.11.025

This article focuses on the appearance and behaviors of reference librarians at the desk in order to determine the impact on patrons’ judgment of approachability.  The details of the methodology and the analysis are included. By using an image-rating study, the authors focus on attire and nonverbal cues in more detail that previous studies and conclude that behaviors do impact one’s image of approachability.

Bishop, B. W., & Bartlett, J. A. (2013).  Where do we go here?  Informing academic library staffing through reference transaction analysis. College & Research Libraries, 74(5), 489-500.  Retrieved from http://crl.acrl.org/content/74/5/489.full.pdf+html

Bishop and Bartlett use content analysis of reference transactions to analyze the places where questions are asked.  Findings provide guidance in optimizing staffing and informing mobile library app development.

Gottfried, J. C. (2013). The plugged-in reference librarian: Who do we think we are? The Reference Librarian, 54(4), 308-319. doi:10.1080/02763877.2013.767766

This study explores whether the increased availability of technology in libraries has increased demand for reference librarians with technological knowledge and proficiency. The author reviewed job postings from 1999 and 2011, randomly selecting 80 from each year and coding them for technology-related variables. Though the study results were mixed, they will interest librarians seeking or hiring for reference positions.

Graber, A., Alexander, S., Bresnahan, M., & Gerke, J. (2013). Evaluating reference data accuracy: A mixed methods study. Reference Services Review, 41(2), 298-312. doi:10.1108/00907321311326237

This article focuses on the data entry behaviors of reference staff related to gathering reference service statistics.  The authors utilized a mixed-method approach, ultimately identifying 6 types of data entry behaviors.  The survey tool is not included.  Reference librarians and administrators will benefit from the discussion of how accuracy of data-gathering is effected by data gathering behaviors, although further study is recommended.

Ishimura, Y. (2013). Information behavior and Japanese students: How can an understanding of the research process lead to better information literacy? Public Services Quarterly, 9(1), 20–33. doi:10.1080/15228959.2013.758977

The author investigated the factors involved in international students’ information behavior to provide insight on how librarians can better serve the diverse populations in colleges. Data collection methods: 1) research portfolios, 2) in-depth interviews, and 3) flowcharts. The major identified factors are 1) assignment guidelines, 2) interaction with domestic students, 3) past learning and personal interests, and 4) time allocation.  Librarians can collaborate with professors to design assignment guidelines, and help international students pair with domestic in mentoring relationship during research process.

Kessler, J. (2013). Use it or lose It! Results of a use study of the print sources in an academic library reference collection. The Reference Librarian, 54(1), 61-72. doi:10.1080/02763877.2013.738120

During the Fall 2010 semester, an academic library examined the use of a 26,000 volume print reference collection and found a use rate of 7.1%. Reference books were collected from multiple study areas and collection points and scanned prior to re-shelving. The author’s discussion of data collection methods, comparable studies, and results provides useful information on print reference collection management and calls into question their future.

Li, P. (2013). Effect of distance education on reference and instructional services in academic libraries. Internet Reference Services Quarterly, 18(1), 77-96. doi:10.1080/10875301.2013.804018

This article is a literature review that explores how distance education impacts reference services.  The author conducts a thorough review of scholarly literation on the connection between distance education and reference.  Due to the variety of factors, the author concludes that reference librarians must be continually adaptable in order to meet patrons’ needs.  This is an excellent article for reference librarians wishing for an overview of distance learning and reference services.

Luo, L., & Weak, E. (2013). Text reference service: Teens' perception and use. Library & Information Science Research, 35(1), 14-23. doi:10.1016/j.lisr.2012.03.002

In this article, the authors use focus groups to discuss text reference service perceptions with teen library users.   In the discussion of the results, the authors provide clear and practical guidelines for proving text reference services to teens, including outreach practices as well as programmatic suggestions.  Reference librarians interested in providing text reference service to teenagers will benefit from the insights gathered in the focus groups.

Magi, T. J., & Mardeusz, P. E. (2013). Why some students continue to value individual, face-to-face research consultations in a technology-rich world. College & Research Libraries, 74(6), 605-618. Retrieved from http://crl.acrl.org/content/74/6/605.full.pdf+html

This exploratory investigation provides insight into student views about the content and value of individual research consultations.  The qualitative study includes descriptive statistics and content analysis of open-ended survey questions completed by students after participating in a research consultation.  Study results support the research consultation as a rich opportunity to deeply engage with research, an important component of the reference service mix.

McClure, H., & Bravender, P. (2013). Regarding reference in an academic library. Reference & User Services Quarterly, 52(4), 302-308. doi:10.5860/rusq.52n4.302

The authors share the results of an analysis of reference statistics to determine the impact of moving from multiple services points to a single service point.  The article focuses statistics gathered in LibStats from 7 semesters, during which a variety of reference models were tested.  Although the number of directional and ready-reference questions fluctuated depending on the desk model, the authors found that the number of true reference questions remained constant, regardless of model.

Meredith, W. (2013). Web-scale search and virtual reference service: How Summon is impacting reference question complexity and reference service delivery. Internet Reference Services Quarterly, 18(1), 1-13. doi:10.1080/10875301.2013.803005

Using the READ scale, the author compares results before and after his library adopted a discovery system.  Reference questions received by email were coded and used in a custom-made Access database for analysis.  The author found that, although simple location requests had gone down, the implementation of Summon did not change the sophistication of reference questions received.  Reference librarians trying to determine the impact of discovery systems on reference services will find this article helpful.

Miles, D. B. (2013). Shall we get rid of the reference desk? Reference & User Services Quarterly, 52(4), 320-333. doi:10.5860/rusq.52n4.320

This article reveals that the majority of academic still use the reference desk model staffed by reference librarians.  After analyzing reference stats at his own library, the author conducted a survey of academic libraries to discover what reference models were in use.  Survey questions are included and the discussion reveals that the majority of mid-sized academic libraries using the reference desk model did not report a decrease in reference questions.  For academic libraries considering changing reference models, this article provides an excellent overview of the factors to consider, as there is no clear answer.

Owens, T. M. (2013). Communication, face saving, and anxiety at an academic library's virtual reference service. Internet Reference Services Quarterly, 18(2), 139-168. doi:10.1080/10875301.2013.809043

This article explores communication in archival chat transcripts for evidence of deference and rapport building.  By using a combination of tools in previous studies of rapport building, the author analyzes transcripts and provides an in-depth discussion of the nuances of ‘face saving’ or deflection and deference.  Ultimately, results showed that rapport building on behalf of librarians increases the comfort level of patrons, who may in turn ask more questions.  Reference librarians looking to understand library anxiety in virtual reference service will benefit from the concepts discussed.

Radford, M. L., & Connaway, L. S. (2013). Not dead yet! A longitudinal study of query type and ready reference accuracy in live chat and IM reference. Library & Information Science Research, 35(1), 2-13. doi:10.1016/j.lisr.2012.08.001

By conducting a longitudinal study of chat transcripts, the authors reveal trends in query type and accuracy in live chat reference.  Building on their previous analysis of Question Point chat transcripts, Radford and Connaway analyzed a second set of transcripts from a later period and have compared the results of these studies to discover changes.  Interesting trends reveal include an increase in ready reference questions as well as an increase in procedural questions while at the same time revealing a decrease in subject-specific reference queries.  All libraries considering changes to their virtual reference service will benefit from reading the results of this in-depth study.

Richardson, R., Vance, C., Price, E., & Henry, J. (2013). A mightier pin: Creating a credible reference library on Pinterest at Murray State University. Internet Reference Services Quarterly, 18(3-4), 247-264. doi:10.1080/10875301.2013.849319

The authors explore the use of Pinterest to augment reference service in a case study of Murray State University.  In this instance, reference librarians pinned open access reference items to Pinterest boards, utilizing the social media site as a reference resource and created a set of guidelines to govern analysis.  This case study reveals that it is possible to use social media sites to build reference-related tools.  Libraries looking to explore Pinterest will definitely benefit from this article’s discussion and results.

Ryan, M., & Quidachay-Swan, S. (2013). The effect of time of day on reference interactions in academic law libraries. Reference & User Services Quarterly52(4), 298-301. doi:10.5860/rusq.52n4

 Although specific to law libraries, this article provides an interesting discussion on the influence of time of day on reference transactions.  Using observational data gathered at the reference desk, the authors conclude that in-person reference services increased during times when students were not in class.  Law librarians considering changes to references services may benefit from reading this case study.

VanScoy, A. (2013). Fully engaged practice and emotional connection: Aspects of the practitioner perspective of reference and information service. Library & Information Science Research, 35(4), 272-278. doi:10.1016/j.lisr.2013.09.001

Using a phenomenological analysis of interviews of reference librarians, this article explores emotional engagement and other aspects of reference and information experiences.  Using interpretive phenomenological analysis, the authors reveal that engagement and emotional connection are components of reference practice that are overlooked in current models of service.  Reference librarians would benefit from the discussion of the often-overlooked emotional aspects of providing reference service.  These aspects of the profession are not easily replaced through automated reference services.