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Dissertation Information for W. Michael Havener

- W. Michael Havener

- Ph.D.

- Library and Information Science

- University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (USA) (1988)

- Judith Wood

- Edward G. Holley
- Barbara B. Moran
- William Bennett Ware
- William M. Shaw Jr.

MPACT Status: Fully Complete

Title: The use of print versus online sources to answer ready reference questions in the social sciences

Abstract: Research indicates that reference staffs provide correct answers to reference questions only 55% of the time. This study investigated whether the format in which information is stored affects the outcomes of reference transactions. Results of using online sources to answer social science ready reference questions were compared to the results of using print sources.

Sixty-one experienced academic reference librarians each searched the same set of 12 questions. Half the subjects searched using online sources; the other half used print sources. The efficiency (time required to complete a transaction), success (the provision of correct and relevant information), and effectiveness (a ratio of efficiency to success) of the two treatments were compared. Interactions between treatment and question type were also studied.

Online sources were significantly more efficient and effective in answering bibliographic citation questions. Online searching also achieved significantly higher recall for bibliographic citation questions, but treatment did not affect precision. For all statistically significant measures, the difference between online and print performance was greater for two-concept than for one-concept questions.

In contrast, when searching source questions, the mean time for the online treatment group was over twice the mean time for the print treatment group. Treatment had no significant effect on recall or precision when searching source questions. Relative effectiveness varied according to type of source question. Treatment did not have a significant effect on subjects' effectiveness in answering verification questions, but print sources were more effective in answering directory questions.

MPACT Scores for W. Michael Havener

A = 0
C = 0
A+C = 0
T = 0
G = 0
W = 0
TD = 0
TA = 0
calculated 2008-01-31 06:20:04

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Students under W. Michael Havener

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