Same questions, different venue: An analysis of in-person and online questions

Joseph Fennewald

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Citations (SciVal)


This study applied traditional categories used for classifying questions presented at reference desks to online reference services. Questions presented at Penn State’s subject libraries were classified as ‘Where Is,’ ‘Troubleshooting,’ ‘Policy and Service,’ and ‘Reference.’ Definitions and examples were provided to the librarians and staff covering thirteen reference desks. These categories were then applied to Penn State’s e-mail and chat reference transactions for the Fall 2002 semester. Although the types of questions were similar across the three services, there were differences in the proportion of questions by categories. This suggests that services have similar, yet distinct, functions and that the type of questions submitted differ between in-person and online and also between e-mail and chat.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAssessing Reference and User Services in a Digital Age
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9780203726235
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences(all)


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