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O'Neill E.,Senior Research Scientist | Zumer M.,University of Ljubljana | Mixter J.,OCLC Research
Library Resources and Technical Services | Year: 2015

Aggregates have been a frequent topic of discussion between library science researchers. This study seeks to better understand aggregates through the analysis of a sample of bibliographic records and review of the cataloging treatment of aggregates. The study focuses on determining how common aggregates are in library collections, what types of aggregates exist, how aggregates are described in bibliographic records, and the criteria for identifying aggregates from the information in bibliographic records. A sample of bibliographic records representing textual resources was taken from OCLC's WorldCat database. More than 20 percent of the sampled records represented aggregates and more works were embodied in aggregates than were embodied in single work manifestations. A variety of issues, including cataloging practices and the varying definitions of aggregates, made it difficult to accurately identify and quantify the presence of aggregates using only the information from bibliographic records.

Shah C.,Rutgers University | Radford M.L.,Rutgers University | Connaway L.S.,OCLC Research
Library and Information Science Research | Year: 2015

Virtual reference services (VRS) and social question and answer (SQA) are two different platforms that share many facets of their functionality, leading to an opportunity to create synergic solutions by bringing complimentary aspects of these services together. This article describes the use of participatory design, a method commonly used in human-computer interaction (HCI), for investigating design and deployment challenges to create a new hybrid question-answer (Q&A) system. A set of three design sessions was conducted with 17 experts from academia and industry. These semi-guided discussions asked the experts for their opinions and suggestions on various issues concerning what a potential hybrid Q&A system could look like. In addition, the participants were encouraged to provide design and implementation ideas based on expertise in their relative fields. The suggestions, comments, and ideas resulted in the development of 11 themes within three categories: (1) provision of more information; (2) provision of control; and (3) focus on user-friendly design. This paper provides details of the method, the sessions, and the design suggestions including the 11 themes and three broad categories. The paper provides a synthesis of the implications of the findings for virtual reference and social Q&A service providers and system designers. Finally, the participatory design method is compared to other methods, and implications for its use in library and information science are presented. © 2015 Elsevier Inc.

Radford M.L.,Rutgers University | Connaway L.S.,OCLC Research
Library and Information Science Research | Year: 2013

Research reveals that users of virtual reference services (VRS) value accurate answers to their queries and a pleasant interpersonal encounter. Findings from a longitudinal study compare two sets of randomly selected VRS transcripts, one of 850 live chat sessions from 2004 to 2006, and the second of 560 live chat and instant messaging (Qwidget) sessions from 2010. The investigation of the international QuestionPoint (OCLC, 2012) transcripts includes comparisons by query type (e.g., ready reference, policy and procedural, subject search) and by accuracy of answers to the subset identified as ready reference (e.g., fact-based queries). Findings indicate that percentages of ready reference queries are remaining stable, having increased slightly from 27% (243 of 915 queries found in 850 transcripts) in 2004-2006 to 31% (179 of 575 queries found in 560 transcripts) in the 2010 dataset. Additionally, accuracy of answers was found to have improved. The percentage of correct and complete responses with citations given by VRS librarians or staff members answering ready reference questions was found to have increased from 78% (141) in 2004-2006 to 90% (151) in 2010. © 2012 OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc.

Shah C.,Rutgers University | Radford M.L.,Rutgers University | Connaway L.S.,OCLC Research | Choi E.,Rutgers University | Kitzie V.,Rutgers University
Proceedings of the ASIST Annual Meeting | Year: 2012

Online question-answering (Q&A) services are becoming increasingly popular among information seekers. While online Q&A services encompass both virtual reference service (VRS) and social Q&A (SQA), SQA services, such as Yahoo! Answers and WikiAnswers, have experienced more success in reaching out to the masses and leveraging subsequent participation. However, the large volume of content on some of the more popular SQA sites renders participants unable to answer some posted questions adequately or even at all. To reduce this latter category of questions that do not receive an answer, the current paper explores reasons for why fact-based questions fail on a specific Q&A service. For this exploration and analyses, thousands of failed questions were collected from Yahoo! Answers extracting only those that were fact-based, information-seeking questions, while opinion/adviceseeking questions were discarded. A typology was then created to code reasons of failures for these questions using a grounded theory approach. Using this typology, suggestions are proposed for how the questions could berestructured or redirected to another Q&A service (possibly a VRS), so users would have a better chance of receiving an answer. Copyright 2012 Chirag Shah, Marie L. Radford, Erik Choi, and Vanessa Kitzie of Rutgers University; and OCLC, Inc.

Faniel I.M.,OCLC Research | Kriesberg A.,University of Michigan | Yakel E.,University of Michigan
Proceedings of the ASIST Annual Meeting | Year: 2012

We know little about the data reuse practices of novice data users. Yet large scale data reuse over the long term depends in part on uptake from early career researchers. This paper examines 22 novice social science researchers and how they make sense of social science data. Novices are particularly interested in understanding how data: 1) are transformed from qualitative to quantitative data, 2) capture concepts not well-established in the literature, and 3) can be matched and merged across multiple datasets. We discuss how novice data users make sense of data in these three circumstances. We find that novices seek to understand the data producer's rationale for methodological procedures and measurement choices, which is broadly similar to researchers in other scientific communities. However we also find that they not only reflect on whether they can trust the data producers' decisions, but also seek guidance from members of their disciplinary community. Specifically, novice social science researchers are heavily influenced by more experienced social science researchers when it comes to discovering, evaluating, and justifying their reuse of other's data.

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