Thursday, May 24, 2007

Reference Seminar group discussions: E-Government

Results of small group discussion on E-government
* E-government brings a new audience to the library, often these clients are not library members so it provides an opportunity for libraries to show their relevance by satisfying the client's e-government enquiry.
* There is an opportunity for new and improved government partnerships with state and federal bodies.
* There is an opportunity for lobbying for federal government funding.
* There is an opportunity to standardize public library internet access policies throughout the state, if not the nation, particularly by addressing some of the charging anomalies that presently exist.
* Government departments are increasingly directing their clients to the internet instead of providing face to face customer service, this gives us an opportunity for public libraries to prove their relevance to state and federal government departments.
* Government departments could use public libraries as a way of collecting feedback on their website and the information provided, eg what are the most frequently asked questions? How long did it take you find the relevant information? Etc. We would of course charge the relevant departments for providing this service, which is just another reason why we should receive federal funding as well as additional state funding.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Reference seminar Q.6 Making "E" visible!

Q.6 Making "E" visible - how do we make our online services known? What should vendors' roles in this be?

Libraries make our "E" services visible to existing library users and those who use our website by various means:

- Highlighting services via our websites
-Screensavers on PCs within the library
-In-house literature
-Making resources known to clients as we use them to answer queries at the Ref Desk or over the phone/email (a type of user education)
-Through user education programs, internet classes etc.
-Promoting "E" services to new members as part of the joining process
-Promotion to client groups i.e. schools (students and teachers), local businesses, local history groups, seniors, youth, book groups.
-Promote to "internal users" - council staff - via Corporate Librarians, intranets, induction programs
-A number of libraries have looked at Federated Searching (as used at many academic libraries) but found that software was prohibitively expensive.

-There is a need to make our "E" services visible to non-library user groups - those who don't physically or electronically pass our doors, we need to address the Web 2.0 communities in some way

Vendors roles

-Vendors of Federated Search software could address expense issue.
-Database vendors could rethink they way they present their databases i.e. consider allowing partial access to searches before password is required (more of a lure for users).
-Database vendors could make themselves and their products more visible in the Web 2.0 world, promote the "More than Google" idea (would redirect users back to libraries)

Seminar Group 3: Transition from print to electronic

3. Transition from print to electronic - how do we manage our budgets in relation to competing demands from the younger "electronic resource"generation and the older "print resource" generation?

Budget: most libraries are increasing budgets for electronic versions of reference resources In Richmond-Tweed Regional Library, 9 branches have access to electronic subscriptions Access is an issue in some branches (not enough PCs, no Reference only PCs) Some users prefer print resources Reference budget at Hurstville Library: 1/4 for printed, 3/4 for electronic resources Remote access from home is essential for databases Less hardcopy standing orders will be required in the future Issues of equity of access for everyone

Monday, May 14, 2007

Topic 4 as discussed at the Reference @ Metcalfe Seminar

4. Public libraries and school students – shifts to “enquiry based learning” over the last 2 decades have greatly increased demands on libraries from students at all levels. How much to we try to meet this need?

Yes this is occurring.

Have noticed that both students and parents don’t always understand what is being asked of them. The Reference Interview is an essential tool, rather than just accepting the piece of paper being handed over to the library staff! Library staff are spending extra time ascertaining the student’s needs, and for them to understand the question.

Library staff resist answering the question for the student, or taking on the responsibility for the “right” answer.

Staff are spending time locating different sources and types of material. Students however think that one book will have the answer they need.

Some students are reluctant to do their own research or have information literacy difficulties.
Often it is these students who come to the library, as those who can research do so by themselves.

Often library staff have to explain how to use a book such as contents page, index etc. Or what a primary or secondary source is.

More assistance is being asked of library staff as people are coming back from the web. They are not finding things on the internet, or teachers want them to use other resources.

Libraries are providing good sites to use on the internet, and using this opportunity to promote our online databases “beyond the web”. Students are happy to explore these once they have been shown.

Home Work / Subject Guides / Bookmarks are popular for students also.

Parents who visit on behalf of their children also need to be shown that there are more resources than just a book. Staff are showing them how to do research, and giving them brochures about online databases.

Reference libraries – we have great resources, especially when all the lending copies are out. But students and parents must be aware most items are not for loan. To deal with frustrated students and parents, library staff encourage photocopying and note taking, and coming to the library sooner when the assignment is first received.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Reference @ the Metcalfe seminar; presentation links.

The following list of URL's are derived from the Reference at the Metcalfe Seminar presentations.

Brett Poole of Yahoo!7
My web

will talk about social search including myweb and Yahoo!7 Answers

Ellen Forsyth
Web 2.0 the machine is us/ing us

Ambient librarian
Arlington Heights Memorial Library
Friends : social networking sites for engaged library services
New technology

Ross Balharrie, Manly

Martin Boyce, Sutherland


Bernard de Broglio Mosman (scroll down the screen for the links)

Philippa Armfield Reader Services