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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