21 November 2010

The reference user experience: four essays

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Library Journal
The essays featured here stem from talks given at the Focusing on the User Experience session of this year’s Reference Renaissance conference, a biennial gathering of reference and user services librarians put on by the BCR consortium in Colorado. The following four essays address the idea of responsiveness as it relates to reference services.

Fish Market 101: Why not a reference user experience?
By Steven Bell
People come to the desk to ask a question. They get an answer or referral. They go away. It sounds rather mundane and routine, which is why it’s called a reference transaction. What if it were considered a reference user experience? Is such a thing even possible?

Imagination, sympathy and the user experience
By Wayne Bivens-Tatum
I discovered that there are some excellent principles in the user experience (UX) literature. I’m going to tell you why you can ignore them.

Why I don’t use libraries for reference anymore
By Jean Costello
I’ve come to accept that the libraries available to me are good sources for popular entertainment material and pleasant conversation with staff. Anything else is more than the system can provide.

The visibility and invisibility of librarians
By James LaRue
In a time when we are grappling more deeply with the nature of securing support for libraries, we need to think more carefully about the continuum of librarian visibility.

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