Roles in digital reference
Information Technology and Libraries
McClennen, Michael~ Memmott, Patricia
Copyright (c) 2001 American Library Association
Abstract: Over the course of the past five years, researchers and practitioners have demonstrated that digital reference services can indeed work well and have developed much of the necessary technology. The next step we must take is to figure out how to optimize the design and operation of our services. A useful step in this direction is the development of consensus models that describe the digital reference process. The authors have developed a model that describes the various roles played by participants in this process and the ways in which those roles interact. This model is illustrated by several case studies: the Internet Public Library, the Saskatchewan Provincial Library, and the Virtual Reference Desk network. The authors hope that the model will facilitate further research by providing a framework and terminology for discussion about the digital reference process. Furthermore, it may be useful to practitioners in the field who are engaged in designing and evaluating policies and procedures for digital reference.