2012 Conference Highlights: What Students Ask & How

Each week between now and the 2012 MLA/DLA Joint Conference, we’re highlighting one of the conference sessions sponsored by ACRL MD. The conference will be held from May 9-11 at the Clarion Resort – Fountainbleau Hotel in Ocean City, MD. Registration is open now, and early bird rates are good through March 15. For more information on the conference, please take a look at the conference program (PDF). 

What Students Ask & How: A Study of IM Chat and Face-to-Face Reference Inquiries at Towson University 
Thursday, May 10
11am – noon

In the library world today, it’s a truism to say that face-to-face reference is declining while virtual reference is on the rise. Join us for a deeper look at the new patterns that are emerging in reference. We will compare, through data- driven research, the kinds of questions students ask face-to-face and via IM chat. Is there a preference to ask citation questions via IM or directional questions face-to-face? When are these services busiest? What are the benefits and challenges of these reference formats for both students and librarians? And how can we tailor our services to meet student expectations? Learn methods for analyzing reference transactions and discover what Towson University librarians are doing with this data.


Melissa Ravely
Evening Research and Instruction Librarian, Towson University

Amanda Youngbar
Amanda Youngbar, Library Associate for Learning Commons, Towson University

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