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Librarians' Perceptions of Quality Digital Reference Services by Means of Critical Incidents

Ozkaramanli, Eylem (2005) Librarians' Perceptions of Quality Digital Reference Services by Means of Critical Incidents. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This research is an effort to understand chat reference servicesthrough librarians' perceptions of successful and less successful chatreference service. Ten Academic libraries in Ohio and Pennsylvaniawhich offered chat reference services were identified and 40librarians were interviewed in order to address the research questionsof this study. The main methodology used was the Critical IncidentTechnique (CIT) that is based on collecting and analyzing the mostmemorable experiences of human behavior in order to evaluate andidentify ways to increase effectiveness of service. On-site, personalinterviews were conducted with librarians who provide chat referenceservices. The subjects were initially asked to define chat referenceservice and compare it with traditional reference services. FollowingCIT procedures, they were then asked to recall and describe successfuland less successful chat reference interactions and to makesuggestions for better chat reference services. The interviews weretranscribed and entered into a database for coding and contentanalysis of the collected data using qualitative data analysissoftware (MAXqda). Coded data were transformed into categories todetermine and describe librarians' perceptions of chat referenceservices. The six major themes that emerged from this study were:1-Characteristics of chat reference, 2-Attitudes of librarians andusers, 3-Efficiency of reference interview and question negotiation,4-Service improvement and management issues, 5-Training and review,and 6-Publicity and user awareness. These themes were discussedthroughout the study. Findings from the recorded critical incidentsindicate the importance of ``attitudes" of librarians and users, therole of question ``negotiation" and ``type", and the availability of``resources" in successful chat reference service. The definingcharacteristics of chat reference, that it is online, remotelyavailable and delivered through software raised issues of``technology", ``chat software", ``service location" and ``servicehours" which were also significant in defining servicesuccess. Furthermore, investigation of reference service qualitycriteria, evaluation measures and methods were explored by comparingliterature on traditional and chat reference services and studyfindings. This study provides practical evaluation criteria forproviding successful chat reference services in three categories basedon: librarians' performance, chat software, and marketingissues. Further research for developing comprehensive digitalreference evaluation criteria is recommended.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Ozkaramanli, Eylemeyo1@pitt.eduEYO1
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairRasmussen, Edie M
Committee MemberRobins, David
Committee MemberSt. Clair, Gloriana
Committee MemberGriffiths, Jose-Marie
Date: 28 July 2005
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 25 February 2005
Approval Date: 28 July 2005
Submission Date: 19 April 2005
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Information Sciences > Library and Information Science
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: chat reference; critical incidents; digital reference; evaluation
Other ID:, etd-04192005-233208
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:39
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:41


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