based Reference Service:
Best Practices Suggestions
School of Library and Information Science
San Jose State University
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Do you own a cell phone?
Do you text on a regular basis?
According to the Pew Internet & American
In 2011, 83% of American adults own mobile
phones and 73% send and receive text
Young adults are the most frequent
mobile phone owners between the ages of 18
and 24 exchange a daily average of 109.5
Text A Librarian
how text reference works
A collaborative text
Launched in July 2009
Participated by over 20
libraries, including both
public and academic
A study to examine the practice of text reference
(based on My Info Quest)
Funded by IMLS
Ready reference questions
close to 70%
A sample of questions
What is the airspeed velocity of an
get from the intersection
mean in French
what is the weather forecast for
What is the recipe for coca cola cake?
What is the reason for each country having its own currency?
What is a good book about 17th century warships?
Why are so
players in the world
Ability to compose answers to patrons' questions concisely, quickly, and accurately
Ability to construct effective search strategies and skillfully search online information
Ability to quickly evaluate information and determine the validity, credibility, and
authoritativeness of sources
Knowledge of information resources, especially online information resources
Ability to interpret patrons' information needs with limited context in text messages
Good communication skills, such as maintaining a friendly, respectful, helpful, and
Familiarity with the software/platform used to provide text reference service
Understanding of text reference service policies
Customer service skills
Ability to answer questions politely, intelligently, and professionally, even questions
that might be judged inappropriate due to language or content
Top Ten Essential Text Reference Competencies
Key reasons for non
Lack of awareness
Information needs adequately met by receiving assistance from
librarians via other venues like telephone, email reference or
coming to the reference desk
sufficient information seekers who are able to use library
resources and other information resources independently
Lack of the knowledge of how to appropriately use the service
Library User Perceptions I.
Library User Perceptions II.
Users discover their library’s text reference service
mostly from :
the library Website
a library staff member.
Users like the following aspects of text reference
It’s easy to use.
It’s fast to get an answer.
It’s a comfortable communication venue.
Implications for Best Practices
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