Tuesday, July 08, 2008

ALA Annual: LRRT Research Roundtable

As usual, LRRT put on an excellent workshop in which three groups presented their research. Lynn Connaway (of OCLC), Marie Radford (of Rutgers), and Timothy Dickey (of OCLC)presented the preliminary results of a large study they are conducting on evaluations of virtual reference. They are focusing on both users and non-users of virtual reference in an academic undergraduate population. Typically (at least in my experience), the non-users exhibit library anxiety and, as a result, were reluctant to approach a librarian through VR services. What I thought was particularly interesting was their use of the term "screenagers" to describe the younger members of the Millennial generation (citing Rushkoff, D. (1996). Playing the future: What we can learn from digital kids. NY: Harper Collins). Also interesting was their finding that screenagers preferred seeking information from a familiar person which suggests to me a preference not only for face to face interaction in order to develop a personal relationship but a preference for interactions with persons with whom they already have an established trusting relationship (e.g. a parent or a friend).

You can find a copy of their proposal for this presentation at http://www.oclc.org/research/projects/synchronicity/resources/lrrt2008-proposal.pdf

[Note: I have yet to find where (if) ALA has posted presenter handouts, etc. from the conference. If anyone out there knows where they are, please drop me a comment!]

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