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Mediating off-site electronic reference services: human-computer interactions between librarians and Web mining technology

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1 Author(s)
Chau, M.Y. ; Oregon State Univ., Corvallis, OR, USA

The Internet enables global dissemination and retrieval of information at any time; as a result, it has a tremendous impact on how libraries provide reference services to this new Web based clientele. One impact is the increase in off-site library users who make in-person reference interviews impossible. To serve this new clientele, academic libraries are setting up electronic reference services to meet off-site information needs. This new approach requires effective human-machine connections to provide smooth reference transactions since librarian-patron contact happens solely through computers. The most challenging aspect of providing electronic reference services to off-site users is deciding when patrons need help. Pertinent information technology is needed to track Web traffic patterns and user behavior (e.g. Web mining), addressing immediately the difficulties encountered by end users. The paper focuses on human-computer connections relating to reference librarians' application of Web mining technology to transfer their experiences and skills from the reference desk to the Web environment. It examines Web mining techniques and their potential to assist different library functions. A scenario is used to conceptualize a model that can effectively apply Web mining technology to perform various functions of electronic reference services. It also proposes a methodology that librarians can adapt in offering mediation during the search at patrons' discretion. The main goal is to provide more seamless electronic reference transactions. Discussion of library professionals' roles in human-computer interactions in the electronic world is presented

Published in:

Knowledge-Based Intelligent Engineering Systems and Allied Technologies, 2000. Proceedings. Fourth International Conference on  (Volume:2 )

Date of Conference: