SLIS Brown Bag Talk: Cross-cultural Analysis of Virtual Reference


The SLIS Brown Bag Talk Series this week features SLIS faculty Pnina Shachaf, Norika Hara, and Lokman I. Meho. Their presentation, Cross-cultural Analysis of Virtual Reference, takes place Friday, October 14, at noon-1:15 pm in room LI 001.

Virtual reference and its potential for collaboration is an emerging area of interest for both researchers and practitioners. Libraries around the world have established both national (e.g., AskNow! by the Council of Australian State Libraries) and international collaborations (e.g., QuestionPoint by the Library of Congress and OCLC) aiming to provide information services to the wider international community.

Studies that examined these services have largely represented experiences in western English–speaking countries only. The generalization of findings in these studies to other countries should, therefore, be made with caution, especially because communication patterns and the provision of reference services in other parts of the world is different and could have significant impact on the design and application of global virtual reference services.

In an effort to bridge this research gap, a comparative analysis was conducted between Israel, Japan, and Lebanon. More specifically, an analysis of approximately 150 asynchronous transaction transcripts was done to identify both similarities and differences between these countries as well as elements that international collaborative initiatives should (or need to) consider when implementing global virtual reference services.

Posted October 10, 2005