Information Access Seminar

Design for Future Reference Service

Friday, October 2, 2009
3:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Michael Buckland

The literature on library reference service has concentrated narrowly on empowering librarians to find answers for library users. Economic considerations and changes in technology make a compelling argument for a shift in emphasis to the support of reference self-service. Library users generally prefer to find explanations for themselves anyway if they can do so easily enough. A current project of the Electronic Cultural Atlas Initiative and the School of Information entitled "Context and Relationships: Ireland and Irish Studies" seeks to provide a remedy. After several months experience with an initial prototype "Context Finder", a quite different design is being worked on. I will lead a discussion of some of the implications of enabling self-service discovery in relatively trustworthy resources, which are commonly digital versions of traditional print-on-paper reference works. We will examine the design implications for three groups: providers of office software (browsers, word processors); publishers of reference works; and librarians and bibliographers.

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Last updated:

March 26, 2015