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Opportunities, threats, & theoretical approaches: Research in traditional and social virtual reference quality

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Opportunities, threats, & theoretical approaches: Research in traditional and social virtual reference quality
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  Opportunities, Threats, & Theoretical Approaches: Research in Traditional and Social Virtual Reference Quality Authors Marie L. Radford Rutgers Univesity, School of Communication and Information 4 Huntington St., New Brunswick, NJ 08901 Email: mradford@scils.rutgers.eduj Lynn Silipigni Connaway OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc. 2876 Victoria Drive, Grand Junction, CO 81503 Email: connawal@oclc.org Jeffrey Pomerantz School of Information and Library Science University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill CB 3360, 100 Manning Hall, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3360 Email: pomerantz@unc.edu Sanghee Oh School of Information & Library Science, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. CB 3360, 100 Manning Hall, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3360 Email: shoh@unc.edu Jung Sun Oh School of Information & Library Science, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. CB 3360, 100 Manning Hall, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3360 Email: ohjs@email.unc.edu Chirag Shah School of Information & Library Science, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. CB 3360, 100 Manning Hall, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3360  Email: chirag@unc.edu Rich Gazan University of Hawaii Department of Information & Computer Sciences Library & Information Science Program 1680 East West Road, Post 3140, Honolulu, HI 96822 Email: gazan@hawaii.edu Today's digital reference service environment faces many opportunities as well as a number of threats. This panel presents three different approaches, methods of data collection, and approaches to analyze and examine quality issues in virtual reference (VR) as well as other reference platforms. One threat has to do with sustainability of VR quality in this time of budgetary constraints. Radford and Connaway will present "Thriving on Theory: A New Model for Synchronous Reference Encounters" describing a new research-based model that delineates quality criteria from user and provider perspectives. This model can be applied to virtual as well as traditional reference interactions. Pomerantz, Shah, Oh, and Oh's paper: "The Same, Yet Different: Comparing Studies of 'Traditional' Digital Reference and Social Q&A" compares traditional vs. social question and answering services. Social question and answer (Q&A) services have opened up pluralistic approaches that go beyond professional VR, but also pose threats to quality and professional turf. Gazen examines one of these social Q&A services, Answerbag, in his paper: "When Wrong is Right: Intentionally Bad Answers in a Social Q&A Community" which discusses his analysis of instances in which wrong answers are intentionally offered. Thriving on Theory: A New Model for Synchronous Reference Encounters By Marie L. Radford & Lynn Silipigni Connaway This paper reports on the development of a new theoretical model for synchronous reference encounters that encompasses live chat Virtual Reference (VR) as well as traditional face-to-face (FtF) environments. This innovative model focuses attention on the dual dimensions of communication, which are the content (information) and relational (interpersonal) dimensions, based on theoretical work from scholars of communication and sociology (Watzlawick, Beavin, & Jackson, 1967; Goffman, 1956, 1967) as well as previous work in library and information science contexts (Radford, 1999, 2006). For successful interactions, the model highlights the critical importance of a combination of positive content and positive relational aspects for librarian and user participants. It is built upon substantial and ongoing  research in reference encounters and rests on a finely detailed category scheme of content and relational facilitators. The model also acknowledges the overarching importance of the context of the encounter in perceptions of success. The model was developed as one of the outcomes of the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) supported research project, "Seeking Synchronicity: Evaluating Virtual Reference Services from User, Non-User, and Librarian Perspectives," (Radford & Connaway, 2005-2008). The Same, Yet Different: Comparing Studies of Traditional Digital Reference and Social Q&A By Jeffrey Pomerantz, Chirag Shah, Juns Sun Oh, and Sanghee Oh This paper discusses the intersection of two ongoing research efforts: one on a "traditional" digital reference service, and the other on a social question and answer (Q&A) service. The former research effort has analyzed data from the Internet Public Library's (ipl.org) archive of answered questions to determine the extent to which resources provided in answers are reusable (Pomerantz, Haas, & Hecht, 2008). The latter research effort has similarly analyzed the use of resources in answers from Yahoo! Answers (answers.yahoo.com) (Oh, Oh, and Shah, 2008), and has further evaluated user profiles from Yahoo! Answers and Google Answers (answers.google.com) to identify the nature and quality of user participation that has contributed to the success of social Q&A (Shah, Oh, & Oh, 2008). This paper will also present ongoing work in comparing these analyses, to identify similarities and differences between these two models of online question-answering service. Specifically, two elements of the exchange between the questioner and answerer are compared. First, the question submitted to these different services are compared, to determine how well-formed and how answerable the question is. Second, the resources provided in answers are compared, to determine the appropriateness of the resources for the question, and the longevity of the resources online. When Wrong is Right: Intentionally Bad Answers in a Social Q&A Community By Rich Gazan While trolls, griefers and other miscreants plague essentially all online communities, the results of a long-term participant observation of a social question and answer (Q&A) community suggest that even the most dedicated and upstanding members of the site sometimes intentionally withhold or disrupt requests for information in certain circumstances. This paper will focus on the conditions; evidence and impact of this behavior in the Answerbag  (http://www.answerbag.com/) social question answering community, and compare the community's self-generated standards for appropriate information sharing with those of traditional digital reference services. References Goffman, E. (1967). Interaction ritual, essays on face-to-face behavior. Garden City, New York: Doubleday. (See: "On Face-Work: An Analysis of Ritual Elements in Social Interaction," pp. 5-45). Goffman, E. (1956). The Nature of deference and demeanor. American Anthropologist 58(3):475-499. Oh, S., Oh, J., & Shah, C. (2008). The User of Information Sources by the Internet Users in Answering Questions. In Proceedings of the 71st Annual Meeting of the American Society for Information Science and Technology (Vol. 45). Medford, NJ: Information Today, Inc. Pomerantz, J., Haas, S. W., & Hecht, E. (2008). Identifying Reusable Resources in Digital Reference Answers. In Proceedings of the 71st Annual Meeting of the American Society for Information Science and Technology (Vol. 45). Medford, NJ: Information Today, Inc. Shah, C., Oh, J., & Oh, S. (2008). Exploring Characteristics and Effects of User Participation in Online Social Q&A Sites, First Monday, 13(9). http://firstmonday.org/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/viewArticle/2182/2028 Radford, M. L. (June, 2006a). Encountering virtual users: A qualitative investigation of interpersonal communication in chat reference. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology. 57(8), 1046-1059. Radford, M. L. (1999). The reference encounter: Interpersonal communication in the academic library. Chicago: ACRL, A Division of the American Library Association. Radford, M. L. & Connaway, L. S. (2005-2008). "Seeking Synchronicity: Evaluating Virtual Reference Services from User, Non-User, and Librarian Perspectives." Funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). Available: http://www.oclc.org/research/projects/synchronicity. Watzlawick, P., Beavin, J., & Jackson, D. (1967). Pragmatics of human communication. NY: Norton.
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