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The Information Institute of Florida State University (FSU) and the Information Institute of Syracuse University (SU) have received a $150,000 grant to develop standards to assess the quality, cost and impact of digital reference services, and to explore factors that affect the quality and cost of the services.
A consortium of universities, public and private organizations, and pubic libraries is funding the study. Co-principal investigators for the study are R. David Lankes, director of the Information Institute of Syracuse, which is affiliated with SU’s School of Information Studies (firstname.lastname@example.org); Charles R. McClure, director of the Information Institute at FSU (email@example.com ); and Melissa Gross, assistant professor in the FSU School of Information Studies. Project managers are Bruce Fraser of the FSU Information Institute and Joanne Silverstein, SU assistant research professor and director of research and development at the Information Institute of Syracuse.
In addition to developing methods to assess the quality of digital reference services, the researchers will test and refine the measures and quality standards that will be used to describe such services. The researchers will also produce a guidebook that will describe methods for collecting and reporting data for the measures and standards.
Lead sponsoring organizations for the study are the OCLC Online Computer Library Center in Dublin, Ohio, and the Digital Library Federation in Washington, D.C. Other consortium members include the Multnomah County
Library System in Portland, Ore.; the Library of Congress; the University of Maryland; FSU; SU; Bristol University and John Moores University in the United Kingdom; the Mid-York Library System in Utica, N.Y.; the Cleveland Public Library; the Reference and User Services Association; and the state libraries of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Florida.
The complete study proposal and additional information about the study are available on the Web (http://quartz.syr.edu/quality/). Updates on project activities will be posted to the site on a regular basis.
Preliminary findings from the study will be presented during the annual Virtual Reference Desk Conference Nov. 11-13 in Orlando, Fla. Information about the conference is available on the Web ( http://vrd.org/conferences/VRD2001/ ).
For more information on the project or about joining the study consortium, contact McClure at 850-645-3328 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.