Amy Tracey Wells (Belman & Wells, Michigan, USA) and Ardis Hanson (The Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute at the University of South Florida-Tampa, USA)
Copyright: © 2003
Lipnow (1997) talks about traditional reference as a mediated, one-on-one service that intervenes at the information seeker’s point of need. Further, she suggests that this point of need is part of the universal predicament of an information seeker – someone who wants to move forward (cognitively) but is unable to progress until he or she finds that missing piece of information. Research clearly shows that information seekers want and need that gap filled with as little interruption as possible, so they can continue where they left off (Dervin, 1998, 1989). From a library perspective, the two questions emanating from that need are first, how to ensure that clients who use a reference service get up-to-date assistance that integrates paper and electronic resources, and second, how to reach the user who has a question but no obvious place to ask it. Technology may have simultaneously ameliorated and exacerbated these questions.