Internet Public Library (www.ipl.org) A Digital Reference Service Presentation Overview What is the IPL? A tour of the IPL website The collection The Ask a Question Service Question Answering Anatomy of an IPL Response Reference interview and e-mail reference IPL usage statistics Home page of the Internet Public Library’s Website http://www.ipl.org About the Internet Public Library This area gives info about the IPL’s history, who has been and is involved, and its policies and mission statements. The IPL Collection Scroll down the IPL’s homepage to see parts of the collection FARQs (Frequently Asked Reference Questions) and Pathfinders POTUS Science Fair Resource Guide Stately Knowledge KidSpace Science Fair Resource Guide Stately Knowledge POTUS TeenSpace Research & Writing Guide Poetry Wiki FAEQs (Frequently Asked Embarrassing Questions) Research & Writing Guide Poetry Wiki FAEQs (Frequently Asked Embarrassing Questions) At the bottom of the homepage you will find the Ask a Question Service Primary location of the Ask a Question digital reference service Ask a Question Service Web based form Answers sent to patron’s e-mail Questions and responses maintained in a database This is the Ask a Question form for adults. Top of form This is the bottom half of the Adult Ask a Question form: There is also an Ask a Question form especially for children (under 13 years old) through KidSpace Top of form This is the bottom half of the KidSpace Ask a Question form: Note that questions about homework are asked. LIS student volunteers are trained to answer reference questions: Content how to select reliable, free sites, how to cite an online source how to respond to a patron (using the IPL’s method) A timely response When a patron submits a question, it is assessed and processed internally within 24 hours. Questions are addressed immediately based on the need-by date set by the patron. Student volunteers scan the database of readyreference and research questions “To Be Answered”, and then claim a question. Once a question is claimed by a student volunteer, it must be answered within 24 hours. Overall turnaround time, as stated on the website, is 3 days. The Anatomy of an IPL Response 6 parts to an IPL answer Greeting Acknowledgement Answer Source citations Search Description Closing 1. Greeting All answers require a greeting. “Greetings from the IPL” is a good neutral choice. The manual indicates that you may instead use “Dear” with the patron’s name but responses should not be informal if the patron used a formal tone. 2. Acknowledgment The acknowledgement is a brief paraphrasing, and should demonstrate an understanding of the question. Summarize the question if it is long or complex. DO NOT cut and paste the entire question as it will sound awkward. 3. Answer The IPL emphasizes the need for responses to offer free, reliable sources of information that best match the patron’s questions. With free resources, the IPL suggests that a response include at least three of the most specific URLs possible. It is important to provide a complete answer yet not overwhelm the patron. Remember that the answer may be equally or better presented from print materials and/or subscription databases. The IPL will soon provide a public library finder. 4. Source citations The place where you located the information is the resource used. It helps establish authority of the answer provided. When possible, indicate the author or creator of the information found within the resource. 5. Search description Give search strategy used for each resource. This allows your patron to repeat the search if necessary. Reinforces IPL’s objective to enhance information literacy. 6. Closing A "thank you" for visiting the IPL and for using the service. An invitation to return to the IPL if more information is required. What about the reference interview? Because the IPL’s Ask a Question Digital Reference Service is email-based, conducting a proper reference interview is difficult. The patron’s information request form provides the basis to prepare a response. Asking the patron for more information or clarification slows down the process In 2007, feedback was requested 2% of the time; of those requests, 20% of patrons replied to clarify their initial question. Sample question (1) Sample question (2) Question submitted by an eighth grader from the UK. She asked a science question about capillary wall structure and hemoglobin. Knowing that she is an eighth grader, that this is for school, that she needs only one sentence for her assignment, and knowing what other sources she used gives us a lot of clues about what our patrons are looking for so that we can provide the right answer to the right question. IPL Users and Usage Assessment Site usage statistics Using Google Analytics Digital reference service statistics Overview of Site Usage During January 2007 1,137,125 visits used: 47 browsers, 7 connection speeds, in 177 languages 80.88% new visits Digital Reference Service Usage Statistics for 2007 22,589: total communication received 434.4 questions or messages submitted per week 57 questions or messages submitted per day 21,863: total number of reference questions received; 13,420 processed. The difference between 22,589 and 21,863 accounts for questions or messages outside the scope of IPL’s service, administrative matters, in addition to suggestions or comments about the IPL that are received through feedback forms on the site. Digital Reference Service Usage, 2002-2007 Number of reference questions: Total Received Number of reference questions: Total Processed • • • • • • • • • • • • 2002: 2003: 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: 7,744 11,301 13,964 13,049 15,432 21,863 2002: 2003: 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: 7,255 10,491 12,971 12,377 12,188 13,420 Patron Satisfaction Common ways to measure User Surveys Tracking returning users “Thank you” comments User Surveys Chang, H.R., & Holland, M.P. (2005). User Satisfaction Survey of Ask-A Question Service at the Internet Public Library. Internet Reference Services Quarterly, 10(2), 61-73. Tracking Returning Users (1) 1st Quarter: January-March 2007 New visits: 78.28% Number of page views: 12,369,197 Number of visits: 3,307,198 -Google Analytics Tracking Returning Users (2) 2nd Quarter: April – June 2007 New visits: 75.84% Number of page views: 9,113,378 Number of visits: 2,567,795 3rd Quarter: July – September 2007 New visits: 75.59% Number of page views: 6,774,498 Number of visits: 1,973,500 4th Quarter: October – December 2007 New visits: 64.99% Number of page views: 10,025,987 Number of visits: 2,758,914 “Thank you” Tracking the number of “thank yous” began in September 2007 Approximately 10% of users send their appreciation All acknowledgments are passed along to the student volunteers who answered the question An Exceptional “Thank you” Question: What are the most frequently asked questions regarding directories? Which directories do you refer people to the most? What are some important directories for today's world? from: @gmail.com location: Maryland area: General Reference reason: For a report on directories in my library science class, information access. school: Yes sources consulted: Bopp, Richard E. and Linda C. Smith. Reference and Information Services: An Introduction. 3rd ed. Englewood, Colo.: Libraries Unlimited, 2000 (ISBN: 1-56308-624-7; ISBN-13: 978-1-56308-624-3). Thank you! I appreciate the information and will greatly add to our presentation. It's always a pleasure to use your services and I highly recommend them to others. You're doing the community a great service. Yay for librarians! hehe Bibliography Discussion Questions or comments?