Full Record – Author

Ref Type: Journal Article

Authors: Payne,Georgina F., Bradbury,David,

Title: An automated approach to online digital reference: the Open University Library OPAL Project

Publication Full: Program: Electronic Library and Information Systems

Year: 2002 Volume: 36 Issue: 1

Start Page: 5 Other Pages: 12

Descriptors: Distance learning, Online retrieval,


Online Personal Academic Librarian (OPAL) is an Open University research project looking at the development of a fully automated 24/7 online system designed to respond to routine and repeat enquiries from Open University distance learners. Looks at the desk and field research conducted to date, and is divided into five sections. First, the reason and need for such an automated question-answer service are considered. Then examines the current digital reference climate, and a range of possible solutions and technologies is described, including the use of real-time technologies such as chat and Web contact software, and also the use of fully automated online conversational robots. Then looks at enquirer behaviour and enquiry patterns, drawing on data collected through field research and a data analysis of user e-mail enquiries. Further research has also revealed the importance of the user’s context and the need for user profiling in delivering an appropriate response to the user, and this is briefly discussed. Concludes with a description of the OPAL prototype to date, and looks ahead to some possible future directions.


ID: 338

Links: NULL

Extra Data: NULL


Retrieved Date:January 1, 1970

Editors: NULL

Book Title: NULL

Series Title: NULL

Publisher: NULL

Place Of Publication: NULL

Issn Isbn: 0033-0337