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Ref Type: Journal Article

Authors: Shachaf,Pnina, Horowitz,Sarah M.,

Title: Virtual reference service evaluation: Adherence to RUSA behavioral guidelines and IFLA digital reference guidelines

Publication Full: Library & Information Science Research

Year: 2008 Volume: 30 Issue: 2

Start Page: 122 Other Pages: 137

Descriptors: ELECTRONIC reference services (Libraries), REFERENCE services (Libraries), INTERNET in library reference services, RESEARCH, LIBRARIES — User satisfaction, STANDARDS, AMERICAN Library Association. Reference & Users Services Association, PROFESSIONAL ethics,


This study evaluates the level to which virtual (e-mail) reference services adhere to professional guidelines. These professional guidelines are set up as standards to assure service quality. However, studies of virtual reference effectiveness rarely utilize these standards to measure reference success. This study evaluates and compares the level of adherence to two sets of professional guidelines published by the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) and the American Library Association (ALA) Reference and User Services Association (RUSA). Analysis of 324 transactions from 54 libraries showed: 1) low levels of adherence to both sets of guidelines; 2) varied levels of adherence based on request types and user names on both sets of guidelines; 3) variation in institutional rank according to different sets of guidelines; 4) no correlation between user satisfaction and adherence to either set of guidelines. This study has implications for future research and practice because it provides a systematic way to analyze transactions in light of the ideal professional standards. It also provides an empirical benchmark for evaluating virtual reference services. [Copyright 2008 Elsevier]; Copyright of Library & Information Science Research (07408188) is the property of Pergamon Press – An Imprint of Elsevier Science and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)


M3: Article; Shachaf, Pnina 1; Email Address: shachaf@indiana.edu; Horowitz, Sarah M. 2; Email Address: sarahhorowitz@augustana.edu; Affiliations: 1: School of Library and Information Science, Indiana University, 1320 East 10th Street, LI005A, Bloomington, IN 47405-3907, USA 2: Thomas Tredway Library, Augustana College, 639 38th Street, Rock Island, IL 61201, USA Source Info: Jun2008, Vol. 30 Issue 2, p122; Thesaurus Term: ELECTRONIC reference services (Libraries); Thesaurus Term: REFERENCE services (Libraries); Thesaurus Term: INTERNET in library reference services; Thesaurus Term: RESEARCH; Thesaurus Term: LIBRARIES — User satisfaction; Subject Term: STANDARDS; Subject Term: AMERICAN Library Association. Reference & Users Services Association; Subject Term: PROFESSIONAL ethics; Number of Pages: 16p. Document Type: Article

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Retrieved Date:January 1, 1970

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Issn Isbn: 7408188