Author: Stephen Francoeur

  • Digital Reference as Early Warning System for Systems Issues

    Today, while covering chat reference, I noticed an earlier session where a  major problem was reported by a student that no one else had noticed: links to full text in our discovery service (from Summon) had mostly stopped working.This is the first time that a problem has been reported in a chat session or in […]

  • Going from Micro to Macro

    One of the great challenges when working with students is convincing them that it’s OK to narrow their research topics. Students commonly report that beginning a research paper (understanding the scope of the assignment, picking a topic, and finding a question to answer) is usually the most challenging part. Alison Head’s 2007 article in First […]

  • Personalized Documentation in Reference Interactions

    Does this scenario from the reference desk sound familiar? A student asks for help finding something that requires you to set up a complicated search with lots of limiters, nested terms, truncation, etc. Or maybe the search you want to demo is in one of the funkier databases where it takes a few minutes just […]

  • The Student Research Pad

    Students today have lots of great options for keeping track of sources they find: citation management software and web services (Zotero, Mendeley, EndNote, RefWorks) bookmarking services (Diigo, Delicious, Pinboard) note-taking software and services (Evernote, OneNote, Springpad) As wonderful as these tools are, there are a couple of notable barriers to their wider adoption: a herculean […]

  • Space for Our Services

    It’s quite simple, really. If you want folks to use your digital reference service, you have to make it easy for them to find it. In fact, they shouldn’t even have to go hunting for it; it should be right there in front of them as much as possible. A year and a half ago, […]

  • My New Job as User Experience Librarian

    This month, I ended more than ten years of service in the Information Services Division at the Newman Library at Baruch College and started a new position as a user experience librarian in the Collection Management Division. While I will continue to provide reference services and teach workshops and credit courses, I’ll be working on […]

  • Guide to Reference Services

    This week, I completed work on a guide to reference services that was commissioned by the Metropolitan Library Council of New York. Originally, I was asked to create a guide to digital reference, but lately I’ve been feeling less inclined to carve out a unique space for “digital reference” in the larger sphere of reference […]

  • Library Day in the Life

    Over on my other blog, Beating the Bounds, I wrote a series of posts for the Library Day in the Life project that some of my readers here might find interesting.

  • Discussing a National Virtual Reference Service

    I really wish I was going to ALA Midwinter this week just so I could participate in the discussion hosted by OCLC on what a national virtual reference service might look like. Here is the description of the event on the registration page for it: Sunday, January 9 10:30 am – 12:00 pm, San Diego […]

  • More on the Paging System at Darien Library

    To followup on yesterday’s post in which I noted that I was going to look for more information on the patron notification system at Darien Library, I’ll note here that Diana K. Wakimoto’s post at the Waki Librarian provides a nice summary of John Blyberg’s presentation about the project at Internet Librarian last month. If […]