Minutes of September 3, 2009 Meeting

Co-Chair facilitating: Sara Harrington; Recorder: Eileen Stec; Attending: Sam McDonald, Ka-Neng Au, Caryn Radick, Natalie Borisovets (Co-Chair), Christopher Sterback, Stephanie Bartz, Francoise Puniello, Susan Beck, Ed Berger, Melissa Gasparotto, Wen-Hua Ren, Melissa De Fino, Grace Agnew, Martin Kesselman, Tom Glynn, Judy Gardner, Ryan Womack


NumberBegin byAgenda ItemDiscussion Leader
19:30 a.m.Virtual Reference Services Annual ReportNatalie Borisovets
210 a.m. Report of the Virtual Chat Reference Task ForceNatalie Borisovets
310:20 a.m.USC will prioritize and decide how to pursue the Council's goalsThe Full Council

Additional Information

At the July and August 2009 USC meetings, the Council decided on the following activities/goals, and posited specific areas for investigation under each of these activities/goals, as follows:

1. Investigate user-focused learning spaces that support University learning goals.
[Investigate new possibilities for flexible student use of library spaces.]

2. Advance leadership in public services through the exploration and potential adoption of emerging services and technologies.
[Investigate: new federated search products, open source online public access catalogs, RUL interfaces with Sakai, text reference, mobile web applications; and/or other technologies and services deemed appropriate]

3. Explore instructional effectiveness and efficiency in order to transform teaching and learning.
[Examine and assess the newly developed undergraduate information literacy tutorial.]

Our task at the September 2009 meeting is to prioritize our activities in order, and discuss the specific methods we will use to accomplish these activities.

You may wish to look again at Educause's "7 Things You Should Know About":
and SLA's "23 Things Blog":
which were deemed worthy for USC for consideration.

1. Virtual Reference Service Report presented by Natalie Borisovets. Some points of note regarding usage:

The chat service has been highly successful, answering 7025 questions during 2008/09.

During the periods of Meebo service the number of non-PIN queries submitted to Ask a Librarian rose 10.9% during the spring semester and 13.5% in the summer of 2008. The conclusion drawn is that the presence of Meebo service increases usage of the other electronic reference service (AAL) and creates an increased expectation to users that such services are available.

2. Virtual Task Force Report presented by Natalie Borisovets and discussion ensued.

Council members questioned if we should continue to ask AAL users demographic questions for RUL assessment purposes. It was pointed out that in light of the preliminary ethnographic study report undergraduates and graduate students use our web site differently. For the sake of assessment we should mine the AAL data, comparing it to the ethnographic study before deciding to discontinue AAL demographic questions.

Again, it was pointed out that the Meebo service has been wildly successful, averaging 9 questions per hour and occasions when 40 or 50 questions received in a three-hour session. Librarians have expressed a desire for a service that would

Meebo does not have the capacity for either of the features requested by librarians. The task force reviewed Digsby, and Spark LibraryH31p applications. Issues of functionality, tech support and the need for user to load specialized software eliminated all of the applications from implementation in their current form. The consensus is to continue Meebo service and investigate longer services hours. [Natalie has since discovered a process to add a new Meebo window, remove the old window from public view still allowing the person ending a Meebo shift to complete current questions in progress.]

Other discussions included adding an AskALibrarian link or icon from individual databases and consequently can we create context-sensitive canned answers or should we be providing live contextual help? The issue of linking to AAL from database page will be tasked to DIG (Database Interface Group), Melissa Gasparotto agreed to bring the issue to DIG.

3. Prioritizing USC's goals.

Specific goals will we focus on and how we will implement these goals:

1."Investigate user-focused learning spaces that support Library learning goals."

Look at particular libraries (cool library spaces) and focus fundraising toward creation of new spaces. Of particular note, PCWG is considering replacing 10 PC's at Chang with netbooks. A "cool learning spaces" task force was set up composed of Anne Butman (chair), Ryan Womack, Eileen Stec and Françoise Puniello.

2."Advance leadership in public services through the exploration and potential adoption of emerging services and technologies."

Federated search products are already under investigation by Library Resources Council and it is hoped that LRC and USC can work jointly on this issue. VALE is currently developing a public (OLE) catalog; the kickoff for the results will be shared at the VALE conference in January 2010. Grace Agnew reported that a VALE group is working on this project and that RUL involvement is crucial and should be led by IPAC, however VALE is and will continue to spearhead the project. Regarding text/SMS reference Melissa Gasparatto and Marty Kesselman will look into the requirements, feasibility and current state of the art. NBISG is working on a pilot for video reference services. Any discussion of RUL web site redesign should be informed by the ethnographic study results and will be handled by Web Advisory Committee.

3."Explore instructional effectiveness and efficiency in order to transform teaching and learning."

The Council will ask Jeris Cassel, the tutorial team leader, to speak to USC about the new RIOT tutorial and ways to track its use and assess its effectiveness. The USC was informed that Jackie Mardikian and Anne Watkins (with assistance from Eileen Stec) are working with a nursing faculty member to assess the effectiveness of the Nursing tutorial.

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