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Ask A Librarian and Question. Point: Integrating Collaborative Digital Reference in the Real World Ask A Librarian and Question. Point: Integrating Collaborative Digital Reference in the Real World (and in a really big library) Linda J. White Digital Project Coordinator LIDA 2003

American Memory Collections American Memory Collections

Millions of Primary Source Materials Online Millions of Primary Source Materials Online

Building a Digital Archive Building a Digital Archive

The Role of Libraries • Ensure free and open access to global resources • The Role of Libraries • Ensure free and open access to global resources • Collect knowledge for reference access • Add value to information on the Internet

While the Tools Have Changed… • … fundamental nature of librarianship has not changed. While the Tools Have Changed… • … fundamental nature of librarianship has not changed. • New technology and tools enhance delivery of information • Skill set evolution necessary • New business models needed for the virtual environment

The Challenge for Librarians • Use traditional strengths to build new programs • Leverage The Challenge for Librarians • Use traditional strengths to build new programs • Leverage the community of librarians and libraries • Redefine the role of librarians and libraries in the Internet age

Multiple Communications Options In Person Telephone Surface Mail and Fax “Live Chat” “Ask-A” Web Multiple Communications Options In Person Telephone Surface Mail and Fax “Live Chat” “Ask-A” Web forms

E-Reference at LC • 1994 - Email support for Online Catalog (LOCIS) • 1994 E-Reference at LC • 1994 - Email support for Online Catalog (LOCIS) • 1994 - Email support for Web site • 1995 - Online Reference pilot begins • 1998 - “Reference in a Digital Age” Conference • 1998 - American Memory Help Desk • 2000 - Launch of Collaborative Digital Reference Service (CDRS) • 2001 - Online Chat Pilot • 2002 - Ask a Librarian Web reference service

Library of Congress Home Page Library of Congress Home Page

Why Do Patrons Ask LC Questions? Why Do Patrons Ask LC Questions?

Educational Levels of LC Patrons Educational Levels of LC Patrons

What LC Patrons Ask What LC Patrons Ask

Meeting Point of Need LC Web Site Hits 1995: 23, 772, 545 2001: 1, Meeting Point of Need LC Web Site Hits 1995: 23, 772, 545 2001: 1, 025, 276, 805 Online Queries 1995: 2, 265 2001: 36, 500 2002: 35, 000 + (April-Dec) 2003: 19, 839 (January –March)

Making the Case for Global Collaborative Reference • Meet patrons at point of need Making the Case for Global Collaborative Reference • Meet patrons at point of need • Too much information – no library can do it all • Build on strengths • Libraries have always cooperated • Increase our knowledge – of other collections and experts • Solve problems – be part of something big • Address the digital divide

“Question. Point provides professional reference service to users anywhere, anytime, through a collaborative, web “Question. Point provides professional reference service to users anywhere, anytime, through a collaborative, web based network of libraries. ” – Mission Statement 2002

What is Question. Point? • Developed by Library of Congress and OCLC • Software What is Question. Point? • Developed by Library of Congress and OCLC • Software supporting both local and global online reference service • Local component: web-based question submission forms, email, live chat, and local knowledge-base of Q & A • Global component: network of reference librarians world-wide, sharing of reference inquiries and automatic “best-fit” routing, global knowledge-base of edited Q & A

Question. Point National Library Consortium Library Academic Library Public Library Special Library Ask-a Service Question. Point National Library Consortium Library Academic Library Public Library Special Library Ask-a Service Consortium Library Professional Partner

Question. Point Profiles • Question. Point uses profiles – rather than seats or simultaneous Question. Point Profiles • Question. Point uses profiles – rather than seats or simultaneous users • You can define profiles based on… – a division – a single library – a consortium • You can associate profiles… – to create a reference consortia – to create a Group Reference Network

Libraries can use Question. Point to… • Interact – meet the patrons where they Libraries can use Question. Point to… • Interact – meet the patrons where they are • Cooperate – partner with reference staff and consortia worldwide • Build – share resources, experiences and pathways to previously inaccessible expertise • Manage – reference services – statistics, surveys, trends

Interact - Customizable Web Forms Interact - Customizable Web Forms

Interact – Librarian’s Interface in 5 languages - more in development Interact – Librarian’s Interface in 5 languages - more in development

Interact - Chat Interact - Chat

Interact - Sample Q & A Set Interact - Sample Q & A Set

Interact - Choices in handling a question • Assign • Respond • Refer • Interact - Choices in handling a question • Assign • Respond • Refer • Add to KB

Cooperate - Assign Locally Cooperate - Assign Locally

Cooperate - Refer to reference partner • Refer By Email To Partner (local) Best Cooperate - Refer to reference partner • Refer By Email To Partner (local) Best Match (refer to Global Partner)

Cooperate - Escalate to the Global Network Cooperate - Escalate to the Global Network

How Does Routing Work? • Step One - Exclusionary Elements: • Subject/Geographic • Language How Does Routing Work? • Step One - Exclusionary Elements: • Subject/Geographic • Language • Education Level Served • Weekly Quota Filled • Exclude Group (Optional) • Step Two - Best Fit Matching: • Subject / Geographic Subject - 20/20% • Load Balancing - 20% • Availability - 20% • Format Expertise - 10% • Preferred Location of Library - 10%

Where are the Global Partners? • Australia • Canada • China (People’s Republic) • Where are the Global Partners? • Australia • Canada • China (People’s Republic) • Germany • Netherlands • Norway • Slovenia • Switzerland • United States

Build - Local and Global Knowledge Base Build - Local and Global Knowledge Base

Create Resources of Lasting Value The Global Knowledge by Subject Create Resources of Lasting Value The Global Knowledge by Subject

Knowledge Base Workflow Deleted Records QP User or other source Volunteer Editor Q&A sets Knowledge Base Workflow Deleted Records QP User or other source Volunteer Editor Q&A sets Editorial Guidelines Inactive KB Records QP Members Active KB Records End Users

Technical Specifications • LC/libraries defined requirements • OCLC custom-designed and built • Sybase as Technical Specifications • LC/libraries defined requirements • OCLC custom-designed and built • Sybase as back-end database management system • Browsing • Keyword or advanced search: natural language processor

Issues • Licensed databases and copyright • Classification • Who has access • Ensuring Issues • Licensed databases and copyright • Classification • Who has access • Ensuring accuracy • Language and cultural context • Time: How much is it worth

Manage - Statistics and trends Manage - Statistics and trends

Manage - Patron Survey Manage - Patron Survey

Question. Point: Growth Report 220 Profiles serving over 300 libraries Question. Point: Growth Report 220 Profiles serving over 300 libraries

What’s Next for Question. Point? • Establish 24/7 coverage • Increase Internationalization • Achieve What’s Next for Question. Point? • Establish 24/7 coverage • Increase Internationalization • Achieve system integration • Adopt standards • Get input from other libraries • Add document delivery • Train and develop staff

Lessons Learned Lessons Learned

1. The Vision thing …. 1. The Vision thing ….

2. Obtain Staff Buy in 2. Obtain Staff Buy in

3. Rethink Reference 3. Rethink Reference

4. Form Staff Working Groups 4. Form Staff Working Groups

5. Increase Professional Development 5. Increase Professional Development

6. Develop Standards 6. Develop Standards

7. Adopt Best Practices and Guidelines 7. Adopt Best Practices and Guidelines

8. Find Out What Patrons Want 8. Find Out What Patrons Want

9. Trust Other Institutions 9. Trust Other Institutions

10. Think Globally, Act Globally! 10. Think Globally, Act Globally!

www. loc. gov/rr/askalib www. questionpoint. org Linda J. White lwhi@loc. gov www. loc. gov/rr/askalib www. questionpoint. org Linda J. White [email protected] gov