General approaches to reference include advising students to search the library catalog or a specific database (assuming that students can navigate to them independently) or providing a link to a research guide for the course or subject area.Delivering specific resources can mean linking to a canned search in a recommended database that incorporates the librarian’s keywords and date or material type limits or sending a link to a specific journal article, book, encyclopedia article, or Web resource.However, measuring learning outcomes in brief, usually anonymous, interactions is difficult, if not impossible.
No research to date documents the types of resources librarians deliver in chat reference or the extent to which instruction accompanies resource provision.
Another gap exists in understanding how librarians use research guides in everyday interactions and the extent to which guides support and extend instruction in the virtual context.
This perspective values engaging and empowering students for lifelong learning.
Higher education library standards and behavioral guidelines assert that “Information literacy competency extends learning beyond formal classroom settings” Near consensus on the centrality of instruction is tempered by Catherine Sheldrick Ross and Patricia Dewdney, who speculated that the focus on independent student learning can provide an excuse for busy librarians to terminate reference interactions without ensuring that students find relevant resources.…when the librarian doesn’t know enough about the real question or about the match between information need and recommended source(s) to have any reasonable confidence that a user who follows the advice will find an acceptable answer.
According to Spring Share, developer of the Lib Guides platform, sites at both public and academic libraries grew from 1,023 at the end of 2009 to 4,883 at the end of April 2015.
The number of guides exploded from 66,703 to 468,733 in the same period.
The analysis addressed these research questions: This study draws on and contributes to existing research around: 1) the role of teaching in reference service; 2) instructional strategies in virtual reference; and 3) the instructional value of research guides in academic libraries.
The current study examines previous findings in light of new data and adds to the literature a focus on the resources that librarians provide.
When a student asks a librarian for help with a research assignment, will the librarian suggest a place to start looking or deliver a specific resource?