February 14, 2012

Remote Reference, Research and Resources

Posted in Digital Libraries, Remote Reference, Virtual Librarian tagged , , , at 4:52 am by mknight1130

Last Tuesday, Brad at Concordia University and I spoke. We talk about reference librarians that work remotely by email. We talk about supporting distance learning. We talked about requirements, from the NIH, for researchers to make their findings available to the public, remotely. We talk about  several universities and colleges in the northwest, pooling their resources by consolidating cataloging through Orbis Cascade Alliance: http://www.orbiscascade.org . As we talk, I think about when and where librarianship can be done remotely. I look for more information about distance librarianship and providing remote reference services.

The Virtual Librarian Handbook provide information for those who wish to get started providing virtual reference services as well as some tips and tricks. A review of  The Virtual Reference Librarian’s Handbook can be found here http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC209520/. The reviewer, Lynn Kasner Morgan highlights how the book can help librarian plan policies, software purchases, and service using this workbook.  Amazon provides the book for purchase and an additional review at, http://www.amazon.com/Virtual-Reference-Librarians-Handbook/dp/155570445X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1329193841&sr=8-1 .

Jessamyn West also provides a good resource to understanding virtual librarianship and is a good example herself. She writes a blog called “The Shifted Librarian” http://www.theshiftedlibrarian.com/,  talking about a new kind of librarian, that can provide services remotely. She has an excellent reading list:  http://theshiftedlibrarian.com/stories/2002/02/02/aShiftedReadingList.html . Also she has an introduction as to what is a virtual librarian http://www.theshiftedlibrarian.com/archives/2006/09/04/what_is_a_virtual_librarian.html . Her posts are very matter of fact and easy to understand.  Jessamyn provides an example of a remote library service, Mass Answers and her response to asking a virtual librarian http://www.librarian.net/stax/1837/ .  Through her experience  with Mass Answers was not as positive as she would have liked, Jessamyn’s writings provide a critical eye and examination of what makes a good virtual reference services.

We are just scratching the surface of virtual librarianship and I am continuing to learn. Where I may not shell out for the Virtual Librarian’s Handbook, I will keep it in mind for the next time I get a bonus or a special gift certificate to Amazon. Reading Jessamyn’s blog has opened up my eyes to virtual librarianship. I am looking forward to learning more about how reference, research and resources can be provided remotely.