Every week I’ll post an exemplary chat session as a way to illustrate our 24/7 Reference Coop policies and best practices. This one is older (2010), but I love it because:
- The librarian uses a screencast to efficiently convey information to the student on how to find fulltext articles in a database.
- Reference conversation: The librarian went beyond showing the student how to find fulltext articles, asking about the topic and suggesting search strategies.
Here’s the full session transcript, anonymized:
Patron: Hello. I'm trying to use ebscohost for article research and i don't think I’m doing it right because when I type the subject in the box and hit search it doesn't really give me articles to read it just gives me brief information on the source. Do I need to be doing something else?
Librarian: Hi - Give me a minute to read your question …
Librarian: OK, which EBSCO database are you using?
Librarian: Academic Search Complete, PSYCHINfo. EBSCO is the vendor, the databases all have names...
Patron: Not sure I didn't know there was more than one
Librarian: That might be the key.
Librarian: So what does it say at the top left of the screen in EBSCO right now?
Patron: [name of patron’s library]
Librarian: what does it say next to he round blue and green EBSCO logo. To the right of that or below it?
Librarian: after the word "searching" in bold print.
Patron: Academic search premier
Librarian: ah HA!
Librarian: Excellent. That is what I suspected. OK this is good. I have Academic Search Premeir at my college and can walk you through it.
Librarian: so you type something in the search box and articles don;t come up?
Patron: Sort of
Librarian: give me a second. I will send you a link that shows you how OK?
Librarian: meanwhile, can you tell me more about what happens when you search?
Patron: I type a subject in let's say "Mikea" and things pop up but they don't seem like articles. The seem like brief descriptions. I need more reliable articles and i don't know how to get more documentation.
Librarian: ok - watch this teensy video i just made and let me know if helps: http://screencast.com/t/OTU2YjM4Y
Patron: Awesome that helps so much thank you!
Librarian: super! So yeah, you just click on the blue link to get the article. So what kind of search is "Mikea"?
Patron: It's a tribe in Madagasgar.
Librarian: Are you finding any useful results with that search?
Librarian: EBSCO uses this term : MIKEA (Malagasy people)
Librarian: with the parentheses and everything. I found three on the Mikea but also it is a region.
Patron: I didn't find so much
Librarian: this article looks great: "MYSTIFICATION OF THE MIKEA: CONSTRUCTIONS OF FORAGING IDENTITY IN SOUTHWEST MADAGASCAR." by Poyer, Lin and Kelly, Robert L.
Librarian: from the Journal of Anthropological Research; Summer2000, Vol. 56 Issue 2, p163
Librarian: What about the Mikea are you researching? If it is facts and history, you might be better off with an encyclopedia entry.
Patron: Ya i'm ok now..thanks so much for your help.
Librarian: did that answer your question?
Librarian: ask anytime :)
Librarian ended chat session.