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RUSA ETS / RSS Virtual Reference Services (Reference and User Services Association) Committee

In: RUSA ETS: Emerging Technologies Section, RUSA RSS (Reference Services Section), Reference Services
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Discussion RSS Virtual Reference Services Committee Meeting Minutes (3/38/18)

by Karen Reiman-Sendi on Tue, Mar 13, 2018 at 09:48 am

Meeting date: March 8, 2018

 

Present: Karen Reiman-Sendi (chair), Rachel Minkin, Judith Emde, Sara Metz, Rosalind Fielder, Rhonda Marker

Regrets: Whitney Vitale, Laura Friesen

Absent: Marissa Ball, Marissa Ellermann

 

Agenda:

Meeting date: March 8, 2018

 

Present: Karen Reiman-Sendi (chair), Rachel Minkin, Judith Emde, Sara Metz, Rosalind Fielder, Rhonda Marker

Regrets: Whitney Vitale, Laura Friesen

Absent: Marissa Ball, Marissa Ellermann

 

Agenda:

  1. Introductions
  2. Updates/announcements
  • The previous meeting minutes posted in ALA Connected have been corrected, that is to display publicly.
  • The RSS section discussion topic proposed by RSS board for ALA Annual has been submitted. Title: Sound Bites: Current Conversations About Reference Services. Description: The RSS Discussion Group brings together librarians in public, school, academic, and other types of special libraries will share their experiences, expertise, and challenges. Join us in discussion one of three current reference issues: managing reference services in a library with a single point of service; providing multilingual library services; or developing best practices for using social media to extend and market reference services. Brainstorming is encouraged. You can select one of these topics to discuss in-depth, or you can circulate to find out trends in each area.
  • Cynthia A. Johnson (vice-chair) is considering committee appointments for 2918-2019. Please volunteer; please contact her directly with specific interests (e.g. “I want to be a chair!”).
  • Cynthia also asked committee chairs to provide feedback about future committee work/structure, in light of the recent ALA discussion about possible organizational restructuring, Karen mentioned that this committee could likely be combined with another RSS committee, such as Management of Reference.
  • We will submit a committee report based on our discussion at this meeting, for the RSS Review, by March 13th. We agreed that we should report out on the Virtual Reference Companion survey findings.
  • Virtual Reference Companion discussion
    • Background: Rachel and Judith created a survey. Karen shared the survey link with RSS-L subscribers. Rachel shared the survey link with a Michigan-only professional listserv. Karen shared survey link with a Big Ten reference managers listserv.
    • Laura was not able to update us on her research into Google Analytics for this site, but Karen recalled that the numbers didn’t seem high. It was difficult to interpret the hits without knowing the number of hits on other RUSA-related web sites. Rachel and Judith updated the committee on the survey results.
    • 49 respondents submitted survey results. While this may not be a large or a representative sample, it is likely that this is a population that would care about this web site and the content. Over half of the respondents didn’t use the Virtual Reference Companion. Responses to open-ended questions indicated a lack of awareness of the site and content. Respondents are using other resources for this kind of information. We thought that maybe the site was relevant when virtual reference was new, but the site may not be important to professionals now. Additionally, there were no sections of content that were more important than another. We discussed if we should archive this content, and we decided that we should not, as it does not really reflect the work of the organization, like meeting minutes and standards/guidelines do. The committee decided that we should delete this content as it is no longer relevant, noting that the time we would spend to maintain the content could be used in more valuable ways.
    • Karen thanked Rachel and Judith for wrangling with the survey creation and analysis.
  • Other business
    • The committee decided to cancel our two remaining online meetings given that we have met the goals we outlined in 2017.
    • The committee will meet at Annual 2018 (New Orleans) to start brainstorming and planning for a program to be held at ALA Annual 2019.

    Respectfully submitted,

    Karen A. Reiman-Sendi, chair

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    Online Doc RSS Virtual Reference Services Committee Meeting Minutes (10/27/17)

    by Karen Reiman-Sendi on Fri, Feb 16, 2018 at 03:01 pm

    Meeting date: 10/27/17

    Present: Karen Reiman-Sendi (chair), Judith Emde, Whitney Vitale, Rachel Minkin, Laura Friesen, Rhonda Marker 

    Absent: Marissa Ball, Rosalind Fielder-Giscombe, Sara Metz, Marissa Ellermann

    Agenda:

    1. Introductions

    2. Announcements

    Meeting date: 10/27/17

    Present: Karen Reiman-Sendi (chair), Judith Emde, Whitney Vitale, Rachel Minkin, Laura Friesen, Rhonda Marker 

    Absent: Marissa Ball, Rosalind Fielder-Giscombe, Sara Metz, Marissa Ellermann

    Agenda:

    1. Introductions

    2. Announcements

    • Committee charge was updated on the committee web page on 10/2.  Now reads: "To provide timely information resources and programming related to the creation, management, improvement, and other aspects of virtual reference services."
    • The solution to the problem of multiple versions of the Guidelines was delayed because RUSA webmaster had to get involved.
    • Karen asked RSS Chair Rebecca Jackson about what to do with our goals and if RSS Board wanted to approve. Karen just heard back from Chair this week; Karen will be posting our goals in ALA Connect after this meeting.
    • Reminder about 2017-2018 goals:
      • Review existing content for possible gaps, and add new content in ALA Connect throughout the year.
      • In light of the committee's organizational restructuring, and improvements in the ALA Connect platform, review committee web page for appropriate and improved content, including eliminating out-dated information; request major edits by the end of December 2017.
      • Determine future disposition, content, and maintenance schedule (if needed) of the Virtual Reference Companion. Solicit data and feedback from stakeholders as part of the disposition discussion by May 2018. Request minimal updates immediately (for example, fix broken links) by end of January 2018.
      • Plan and facilitate a discussion to be held at Annual 2018.
    • Need committee report for RSS Review (pre-midwinter edition). Any ideas about what we want to share more broadly?
        • This is a call for committee reports for the next issue of the RSS Review. Please share any activities or programs you are working on in your respective committees. You may also share information about meetings or programs that are upcoming during ALA Midwinter in Denver (or virtually!). This edition of the RSS Review is the Pre-Midwinter Edition." We discussed some points to include in the report, including that we’re transitioning from a co-ETS and RSS group to just an RSS section committee. The group asked Karen to craft a report, without the need to review prior to submission.

    3. Committee web page discussion:  What are our expectations/intentions for committee web page? What is our process and timeline for drafting/discussing online?

    • Expectations: what is the activity of this committee, include reports or documentation; rosters. Is the page for us or for members? Is it advertising? What’s the difference between the public web page and ALA Connect? Must show currency, active-ness. Out-of-date stuff should be “archived.” The RSS Communications Committee is looking at committee web page content now and figuring out how to help RSS committees with communication. How easy will it be for us to update web page content? This will be a concern and will determine how frequently we engage with content as a committee.
      • Must have content:
        • Roster, contact information
        • Committee charge
        • Notes or minutes (links to ALA Connect?)
        • Links to products of committee (Guidelines, VCR, information resources)
      • Nice to have content:
        • Short reports?
        • News? (like upcoming program announcements, highlights of sections in Guidelines, call attention to good articles/happenings in the world of VR)
      • Content that should be removed:
        • Anything outdated!
    • What is our process and timeline?
      • Karen will check with Jason as to how we can get changes on our web page (what is his process. Laura and Karen will draft a document of changes for all committee members to react to (likely November/December). 

    4.  Rough schedule for future meetings

    • Avoid 2/1/18 through 2/22/18
    • Karen will find dates in January, March, May and June with a forthcoming Doodle poll.

    Respectfully submitted, 

    Karen Reiman-Sendi

     

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    Online Doc RSS Virtual Reference Services Committee Meeting Minutes (9/29/17)

    by Karen Reiman-Sendi on Fri, Feb 16, 2018 at 03:00 pm

    Meeting date: 9/29/17

    Present: Karen Reiman-Sendi (chair), Judith Emde, Whitney Vitale, Marissa Ellermann, Laura Friesen, Rhonda Marker 

    Absent: Marissa Ball, Rosalind Fielder-Giscombe, Sara Metz, Rachel Minkin

     Agenda:

    1. Introductions

    2. Announcements/updates

    Meeting date: 9/29/17

    Present: Karen Reiman-Sendi (chair), Judith Emde, Whitney Vitale, Marissa Ellermann, Laura Friesen, Rhonda Marker 

    Absent: Marissa Ball, Rosalind Fielder-Giscombe, Sara Metz, Rachel Minkin

     Agenda:

    1. Introductions

    2. Announcements/updates

      • We won’t meet face-to-face at Midwinter 2018. We will however meet online in January.
      • Despite launch delays, ALA Connect training will still be available - see http://www.ala.org/support/schedule-training for schedule. Karen recommends that we try to a “attend” remote training session
      • The committee charge was revised and approved earlier this year (even though the committee web page doesn’t reflect these revisions yet!). Our charge: "To provide timely information resources and programming related to the creation, management, improvement, and other aspects of virtual reference services."
      • Karen asked for web site corrections to be put in place, including the updated charge and links to updated “Guidelines for Implementing and Maintaining Virtual Reference Services.” Laura is on the RSS Communications committee and will also reach out to Jason Dupree (web editor) about these changes.

      3. Discussion of committee goals. Karen noted that the RSS Board asked that committee have goals posted in ALA Connect soon, and that the committees revisit those goals throughout the year. Karen came up with some goals for the group to consider, specifically:

        • update the content on our committee page: This was a direct request from RSS Board: “Add accomplishments to committee pages; Eliminate out-dated information, past projects, old information.”
        • review, update, enter/record, etc. content in ALA Connect, as needed (also a direct request from the RSS Board)
        • deliver a discussion group meeting at Annual 2018: While this wasn’t requested from the RSS Board, it will be two years or more since the group sponsored a discussion. The committee discussed some topic ideas.
        • discuss/decide on future of Virtual Reference Companion: Karen and Laura gave a brief background on this resource, as they served on the “tutorial subcommittee.” The content hasn’t been updated in over a year. If we believe this is a useful resource, we need to scope the work on this, because the project could be huge, in terms of updating/modifying. We believe we should review statistics on hits/visits (last year in particular), to get a better sense of the value of the content. 

      The committee's next meeting will focus on the committee's web page. 

       

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      Discussion RSS Virtual Reference Services Committee Goals, 2017-2018

      by Karen Reiman-Sendi on Fri, Feb 16, 2018 at 02:56 pm

      The following are the goals for the RSS Virtual Reference Committee, as approved October 2017:

      1. Review existing content for possible gaps, and add new content in ALA Connect throughout the year.

      2. In light of the committee's organizational restructuring, and improvements in the ALA Connect platform, review committee web page for appropriate and improved content, including eliminating out-dated information; request major edits by the end of December 2017.

      The following are the goals for the RSS Virtual Reference Committee, as approved October 2017:

      1. Review existing content for possible gaps, and add new content in ALA Connect throughout the year.

      2. In light of the committee's organizational restructuring, and improvements in the ALA Connect platform, review committee web page for appropriate and improved content, including eliminating out-dated information; request major edits by the end of December 2017.

      3. Determine future disposition, content, and maintenance schedule (if needed) of the Virtual Reference Companion. Solicit data and feedback from stakeholders as part of the disposition discussion by May 2018. Request minimal updates immediately (for example, fix broken links) by end of January 2018.

      4. Plan and facilitate a discussion to be held at Annual 2018.

      If you have questions about these goals, please feel free to contact the current committee chair, Karen Reiman-Sendi (karsendi@umich.edu).

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      Discussion RSS Virtual Reference Services Committee Meeting Minutes

      by Karen Reiman-Sendi on Fri, Feb 16, 2018 at 02:56 pm

      Midwinter Meeting Date: 1/12/18

      Present: Karen Reiman-Sendi (chair), Whitney Vitale, Rachel Minkin, Laura Friesen, Judith Emde, Rhonda Marker

      Absent:  Marissa Ball, Rosalind Fielder-Giscombe, Sara Metz, Marissa Ellermann

      Agenda:

      1. Introductions 

      2. Updates/announcements

      Midwinter Meeting Date: 1/12/18

      Present: Karen Reiman-Sendi (chair), Whitney Vitale, Rachel Minkin, Laura Friesen, Judith Emde, Rhonda Marker

      Absent:  Marissa Ball, Rosalind Fielder-Giscombe, Sara Metz, Marissa Ellermann

      Agenda:

      1. Introductions 

      2. Updates/announcements

        • Reminder: committee not meeting in Denver (Midwinter) as this online meeting is our “MIdwinter” meeting

        • RSS Board is not meeting in Denver (Midwinter) but will be meeting virtually in the coming 2-3 weeks (meeting not scheduled yet)

        • ALA Connect migration/update has been delayed. See RUSA Update for details. Should probably sign up/attend demos of new platform.

        • ETS is holding an eforum, Implementing, Maintaining and Evaluating Virtual Reference Services, on 1/18 and 1/19, via the ETS-L listserv. Topic: Join us for an engaging and informative discussion on the implementation, maintenance, and evaluation of virtual reference.  Karen will reach out to ETS chair about this eforum, to learn about the “why” behind this discussion, in case there is some useful information that could inform our group’s work. Hopefully some of us can participate in the online discussion, too.

        3. Quick review of committee goals (found in ALA Connect), but specifically:

          • Review existing content for possible gaps, and add new content in ALA Connect throughout the year. (Ongoing)
          • In light of the committee's organizational restructuring, and improvements in the ALA Connect platform, review committee web page for appropriate and improved content, including eliminating out-dated information; request major edits by the end of December 2017. (Almost done.)
          • Determine future disposition, content, and maintenance schedule (if needed) of the Virtual Reference Companion. Solicit data and feedback from stakeholders as part of the disposition discussion by May 2018. Request minimal updates immediately (for example, fix broken links) by end of January 2018. (Next priority.)
          • Plan and facilitate a discussion to be held at Annual 2018. (On hold.)

          4. Update on committee web page changes/edits

            5. Planning remaining committee work for next 5-6 months (Virtual Reference Companion, planning discussion group at Annual 2018)

              • Discussion at Annual 2018
                • Per Cynthia Johnson, our section scheduler: committees aren't guaranteed a discussion group slot at Annual due to a change in scheduling at ALA & RUSA level. To avoid duplication and conflicts, each section will have a designated time and space for one all committee meeting and one discussion group. 
                • How should we proceed? Plan on a discussion at Annual just in case? Plan a virtual discussion? Don’t bother with any planning and implementing? The committee expressed frustration at this ALA decision, and we brainstormed some other methods to engage our colleagues. 
                • VRC discussion
                  • Decision needed: Keep it? Needs updating. Needs a small group to tackle the process. Dump it? Karen adds this into her request to RSS webmaster to modify web pages. 

                  •  

                    We decided to focus our efforts on the VRC to help us make the decision to keep this content or to remove the content. If we decide to keep the content, we’ll then have to implement a process to update/revise the content before our appointments end this year.

                6. Other business?

                  • Reminider that scheduled meetings until Annual 2018: 3/9/18, 5/11/18, 6/11/18

                  • We will meet at Annual, likely around the VRC.

                  7. Next steps

                    • Karen will share requested committee web page edits with RSS webmaster next week.

                    • Laura will ask webmaster about Google Analytics on VRC.

                    • Who are the stakeholders for the VRC? We want to develop survey for VRC, asking some portion of RSS (maybe RUSA) membership about the value of this content. Rachel and Judith will develop some questions within a survey tool. Goal is to distribute said survey by end of February. They will ask our committee members for comments and feedback via email. With the results, in combination with any Google Analytics data, we can make a decision on future of content, hopefully at our March 2018 meeting.

                    • Karen will notify RSS board that we intend to survey membership about VRC, and ask about any preferences or recommendations for reaching out to RUSA.

                    Respectfully submitted,

                    Karen Reiman-Sendi

                     

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                    Online Doc Summary of Virtual Reference Eforum

                    by Qiana Johnson on Wed, Sep 23, 2015 at 10:07 am

                    The ETS/RSS Virtual Reference Services Committee hosted an eforum July 15 and 16. Following is a summary of the conversations. If you would like to read the full archive of the eforum conversation, go to http://lists.ala.org/sympa/info/vrc-eforum, then enter your email and password in the login area on the E-Forum web site, and finally click the link for archive.

                    VR Eforum Day 1 Summary
                    Tuesday, July 15, 2015

                    Chat Traffic

                    The ETS/RSS Virtual Reference Services Committee hosted an eforum July 15 and 16. Following is a summary of the conversations. If you would like to read the full archive of the eforum conversation, go to http://lists.ala.org/sympa/info/vrc-eforum, then enter your email and password in the login area on the E-Forum web site, and finally click the link for archive.

                    VR Eforum Day 1 Summary
                    Tuesday, July 15, 2015

                    Chat Traffic

                    While there were a few libraries who had noted a decrease in the number of chat questions their libraries were fielding, most respondents noted an increase in the number of questions. Some of the drivers for the increase in use was ascribed to marketing to students and placement of a chat widget in the university’s LMS. One participant noted an increase in the number of questions after the library introduced a “proactive” chat pop-up after reading about it in a College & Research Libraries News article. Some libraries noted that they saw a drop in the number of chat questions when the link to the chat service became less prominent on the library’s web site.

                     

                    Chat Reference Patrons

                    Responses to the question about chat patrons was limited, but a respondent noted that while both students and faculty at their library use the chat service, students make up more of the users. Response to the question about satisfaction was also limited, but a respondent noted that feelings about the service are overwhelmingly positive.

                     

                    Training for libraries operating in a consortial environments

                    There were a number of options used by libraries for training across institutions. These included shared screen walk-throughs of the chat interface, wikis and policy documents that are accessible to those staffing the service, to internal training within member libraries. One respondent noted that up to date and thorough policy pages were very important to those staffing the service. Some chat services, such as QuestionPoint allow a staff person to mark a question as needing follow up by the patron’s home library, which even with extensive policy pages, can be a better way to serve patrons.

                    VR EForum Day 2 Summary
                    Wednesday, July 16, 2015

                    Statistics

                    How are you counting stats for your chat reference?

                    • The most usable numbers are:
                      • How many questions are our students asking?
                      • How many questions are we answering?
                      • Tracking when questions get asked, particularly before/after hours for those participating in a shared environment like QuestionPoint
                      • Checking to see if enough local questions are being answered by local staff

                    Marketing

                    How is your chat service being marketed? Is it through instruction sessions, print or online marketing, or word of mouth? If your library’s virtual reference client offers a widget, where is the widget placed?

                    • Newsletters, video displays
                    • Mention during Tours
                    • Promote in classes
                    • Outreach to local schools
                    • Facebook
                    • Student orientation
                    • Widgets  placement – some had on all pages, some prominently featured on homepage, one mentioned including whenever a catalog search generated zero results

                     

                    Software

                    Are you satisfied with your chat software? Enhancements you'd like?

                    • Enhancements desired:
                      • Would like screen sharing
                      • Skype/webcam option
                      • More robust reporting, easier to manipulate transcripts

                    What types of software do you use in conjunction with your chat software to enhance the user experience?

                    • No responses

                     

                     

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                    Event Virtual Reference Services Committee Meeting (MARS/RSS)

                    by ALAConnect Helpdesk (staff) on Wed, Dec 18, 2013 at 07:22 pm

                    Planning meeting of the joint MARS/RSS Virtual Reference Services Committee.

                    More information about this conference session

                    Discussion Need your input for ALA Annual - are you attending in Las Vegas 2014?

                    by Cathay Keough on Mon, Dec 9, 2013 at 02:40 pm

                    Happy Holidays, RUSA MARS/VR Committee!

                    We'll need to get an update for our Midwinter report, coming in January.  Please think about best ways we can work together...this has been the most quiet group!

                    In the meantime, it's time for us to schedule our committee meetings and committee-sponsored discussion forums for ALA Annual 2014 in Las Vegas.  

                    Information on what is necessary to schedule meetings is at our ALA Connect group at:

                    http://connect.ala.org/node/214358

                    Happy Holidays, RUSA MARS/VR Committee!

                    We'll need to get an update for our Midwinter report, coming in January.  Please think about best ways we can work together...this has been the most quiet group!

                    In the meantime, it's time for us to schedule our committee meetings and committee-sponsored discussion forums for ALA Annual 2014 in Las Vegas.  

                    Information on what is necessary to schedule meetings is at our ALA Connect group at:

                    http://connect.ala.org/node/214358

                    Are you planning to attend ALA Annual in Las Vegas?  I can't but I believe my co-Chair Alisa Gonzalez is going to be there.  Let's get a count of who is attending as soon as you can reply to this (and please let me know if you have any questions!)

                    Thank you so much,

                    Cathay

                    Cathay Keough (formerly "Crosby"; newly married)

                     

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                    Discussion Two questions for our Committee members

                    by Cathay Keough on Thu, Sep 19, 2013 at 09:47 am

                    Hello MARS/RSS VR Services committee!

                    As co-chairs, Alisa and I would like to find out about your availability for meeting at ALA Midwinter held in Philadelphia (http://alamw14.ala.org/).    We'd like to arrange for a discussion forum during Midwinter, focused upon our mission and future planning.  Your participation is needed!  Please respond to the follow two questions when you get a chance:

                    1.  Are you going to Midwinter in January (1/24-28, 2014)? 

                    Hello MARS/RSS VR Services committee!

                    As co-chairs, Alisa and I would like to find out about your availability for meeting at ALA Midwinter held in Philadelphia (http://alamw14.ala.org/).    We'd like to arrange for a discussion forum during Midwinter, focused upon our mission and future planning.  Your participation is needed!  Please respond to the follow two questions when you get a chance:

                    1.  Are you going to Midwinter in January (1/24-28, 2014)? 

                    2.  Forum Discussion Topics:  Besides our primary interest in discussing our mission and possible future projects, we'd like to hear from you about any subjects you'd like to cover. 

                    Thanks! 

                    -Cathay and Alisa

                     

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                    Discussion Summary of Current Activites for RSS/MARS VR Services Committee

                    by Don Boozer on Fri, Jul 8, 2011 at 08:03 am

                    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 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.

                    More...

                    Pages

                    To identify and study issues relating to virtual reference services, and to evaluate and promote technological and service standards, guidelines, and “best practices” for virtual reference services in all types of libraries.

                     

                    Subscribe to RUSA ETS / RSS Virtual Reference Services (Reference and User Services Association)