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Ref Type: Journal Article

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

Title: Service equality in virtual reference

Publication Full: Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology

Year: 2008 Volume: 59 Issue: 4

Start Page: 535 Other Pages: 550

Descriptors: ELECTRONIC reference services (Libraries), COMPUTER networks, TELEMATICS, LIBRARIES — User satisfaction, ACADEMIC libraries, QUALITY of service, Social aspects, ETHNIC discrimination, SEX discrimination, VIRTUAL reality, QUERY (Information retrieval system), RELIABILITY, COURTESY, computer mediated communications, electronic reference services, gender, minorities and ethnic groups, social discrimination,


Research is divided about the potential of e-service to bridge communication gaps, particularly to diverse user groups. According to the existing body of literature, e-service may either increase or decrease the quality of service received. This study analyzes the level of service received by different genders and ethnic groups when academic and public librarians answered 676 online reference queries. Quality of e-service was evaluated along three dimensions: timely response, reliability, and courtesy. This study found no significant differences among different user groups along any of these dimensions, supporting the argument that the virtual environment facilitates equitable service and may overcome some challenges of diverse user groups. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]; Copyright of Journal of the American Society for Information Science & Technology is the property of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. / Business 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; Oltmann, Shannon M. 1; Horowitz, Sarah M. 2; Affiliations: 1: School of Library and Information Science, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405-3907 2: Thomas Tredway Library, Augustana College, Rock Island, IL 61201 Source Info: Feb2008, Vol. 59 Issue 4, p535; Thesaurus Term: ELECTRONIC reference services (Libraries); Thesaurus Term: COMPUTER networks; Thesaurus Term: TELEMATICS; Thesaurus Term: LIBRARIES — User satisfaction; Thesaurus Term: ACADEMIC libraries; Subject Term: QUALITY of service; Subject Term: Social aspects; Subject Term: ETHNIC discrimination; Subject Term: SEX discrimination; Subject Term: VIRTUAL reality; Subject Term: QUERY (Information retrieval system); Subject Term: RELIABILITY; Subject Term: COURTESY; Author-Supplied Keyword: computer mediated communications; Author-Supplied Keyword: electronic reference services; Author-Supplied Keyword: gender; Author-Supplied Keyword: minorities and ethnic groups; Author-Supplied Keyword: social discrimination; Number of Pages: 16p. Document Type: Article

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Retrieved Date:January 1, 1970

Editors: NULL

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Publisher: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. / Business

Place Of Publication: NULL

Issn Isbn: 15322882