At Vanderbilt's Peabody College, I fell under the spell of Fanny Cheney, the renowned scholar of reference service, author of Fundamental Reference Sources (1972) and literally thousands of book reviews as well as a superb classroom teacher. I also recall, fondly, visiting her second-floor office just off the Rotunda of Peabody's Library; it was memorable because one hardly ever left without a book or two (or even three on occasions).
In Lexington, Kentucky, Dr. Stuart Forth recognized my potential and offered me my first post, that of documents librarian, at the University of Kentucky's regional depository library (but more about that under government information). At UK, I was promoted to head interlibrary loan, worked on the reference desk with Alexander (Sandy) Gilchrist, and made friends with all of the university's scholars who needed resources outside our campus. I also made some life long friends in the Library (including Joan Gatewood, now of the University of Michigan; the late Carolyn Hammer, who introduced me to the King Library Press as well as Gabriel Rummonds; and Deanna Marcum) and in the College of Library Science (including Ellen Altman, Mike Harris, Charley Seavey, and Thomas Waldhart). Lunches at the University Club during 1974 were stimulating as Wayne Cutler of the Polk Project joined us from the History Department and we discussed the Watergate Hearings and finally the Impeachment of Richard M. Nixon.
At UCLA, I was slow to develop this field of research until the late 1980s. In any event, I have no doubt that my 1995/1996 academic year sabbatical at OCLC's Office of Research (lead then by the able Terry Noreault) as a Visiting Distinguished Scholar provided me with the time to think and write about the role of expert systems in reference services and to further elaborate a research agenda. Taking a couple of classes in systems analysis while I was there proved well worthwhile, too. Finally, I am especially proud of what Matthew Saxton has done, under my supervision, in his doctoral work. We no longer have to believe that reference work is half right--that's just wrong for interesting methodological reasons which you can read all about in URT (2002). During my 2002 sabbatical, I served as the first Presidential Scholar for Virtual Reference Service at Library Systems and Services LLC in Germantown, MD, working closely with Steve Coffman, Vice President for Business Development and one of our alumni.
I am increasingly interested in the assessment and evaluation issues related to virtual reference (i.e., chat) such as time in queue, service duration, content analysis or microanalysis of questions, as well as user satisfaction as a result of my time at LSSI.
Currently, I am serving on the advisory board of Reference Services Review (since 1990) and leading a reference research group with Chris Bulock and Ekaterina Efimova during the 2008/2009 academic year.
“eBook Readers: User Preferences Among the Top Five Readers,” with Khalid Mahmood. Library Hi-Tech 30 (no. 1, 2012): 170-185 (pdf).
“Impact of Web 2.0 Technologies on Academic Libraries: A Survey of ARL Libraries," with Khalid Mahmood. Program: Electronic Library and Information Systems 45 (no. 4, 2011): 365-375 (online).
"Good Models of Reference Service Transactions: Applying Quantitative Concepts to Generate Nine Characteristic Attributes of Soundness," The Reference Librarian 50 (April 2009): 159 - 177.
"Virtual Reference Services: A Response to Disintermediation?" In Informatsionnye Tekhnologii v Upravlenii i Uchebnom Protsesse Vuza; Materiali 4-i Vcepossiickoi Ochno-zaochnoi-prakticheskoi Konferenstii (15-17 October 2003), edited by A. F. Kovalevskii (Vladivostok: Vladivostok State University of Economics and Service Press, 2004), p. 246-247.
"The Future of Reference: The Intersection of Information Resources, Technology, and Users [A Response to the 2002 ALA RUSA Forum Papers], Reference Services Review 31 (March 2003): 43-45. (full text available)
"Frances Neel Cheney (1896-1996)," with Robin Dodge. In Second Supplement to the Dictionary of American Library Biography (Littleton, CO: Libraries Unlimited, 2003): 47-48.
Understanding Reference Transactions: Turning an Art into a Science, with Matthew Saxton. Library and Information Science Series. New York: Academic Press, 2002. (reviews and ordering information) (full text)
"Conceptualization of American Reference Service: Past, Present, and Future," In Spravochno-bibliograficheskoje Obsluzhivanie: Istorija, Sovremennoe Sostojanie i Perspectivy Razvitija [Reference Service: Historical Development, Current State, and Forecasts]. Edited by Yelena Zhabko. St. Petersburg, Russia: National Library of Russia, 2003, pp. 72-90.
"The Current State of Research on Reference Transactions," In Advances in Librarianship, vol. 26, pages 175-230, edited by Frederick C. Lynden. New York: Academic Press, 2002.
"Reference is Better Than We Thought," Library Journal 127 (15 April 2002): 41-42. (full text)
"Modeling the Reference Process: A Systems Approach," College and Research Libraries 60 (May 1999): 211-222; reprint ed., Understanding Reference Transactions, chapter 7 and figures. (pdf file) or (full text)
"Green, Samuel S. (1837-1918)," In American National Biography, vol. 9, p. 507. Edited by John A. Garraty. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.
"Hutchins, Margaret (1884-1961)," In American National Biography, vol. 11, pp. 589-590. Edited by John A. Garraty. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.
"Mudge, Isadore G. (1875-1957)," In American National Biography, vol. 16, pp. 48-49. Edited by John A. Garraty. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.
"Question Master: An Evaluation of a Web-based Decision-Support System for Use in Reference Environments," College and Research Libraries 59 (January 1998): 29-37. (QM demo)
"Reference Books: General," with Margaret R. Zarnosky. In The Reader's Adviser, 14th ed., vol. 1, pp. 80 - 118. Edited by David S. Kastan and Emory Elliott. New York: R. R. Bowker, 1994.
"Teaching General Reference Work: The Complete Paradigm and Competing Schools of Thought, 1890-1990," The Library Quarterly 62 (January 1992): 55-89.
"The Reference Process: A Linear or Dynamical System?" with Matthew Schall and Nancy Stimson. In Research in Reference Effectiveness: Proceedings of A Preconference, San Francisco, 1992, pp. 103 - 110. Edited by Marjorie E. Murfin and Jo Bell Whitlatch. RASD Occasional Papers, No. 16. Chicago: American Library Association, 1993 (1992 ALA RASD Outstanding Paper Prize).
"The Logic of General Reference Work: Basic and Intermediate Level Knowledge" In Libraries and Expert Systems; Proceedings of a Conference and Workshop held at Charles Sturt University-Riverina, Australia, July 1990, pp. 7-16. Edited by Craig McDonald and John Weckert. London: Taylor Graham, 1991. (1991 ALISE Research Paper Prize Winner)
"Toward an Expert System for Reference Service: A Research Agenda for the 1990s." College and Research Libraries 50 (March 1989): 231-248; reprinted, "Toward an Expert System for Reference Service: A Research Agenda for the 1990s," In Expert Systems and Library Applications; An SLA Information Kit (Washington, DC: Special Libraries Association, 1991), pp. 95-112.
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