Web-scale search and virtual reference service : how Summon™ is impacting reference question complexity and reference service delivery
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Subjectdiscovery layers; summon; reference services; digital references; reference question complexity
Web scale discovery tools like Summon™ are becoming the norm at academic libraries across North America. How much do these tools simplify discovery? What changes do they bring to the provision of reference service? At Royal Roads University, where most students complete graduate degrees through distance study, I applied the READ scale to reference questions received by email in the year before and the two years after we adopted Summon™. Comparing the questions over time, and analyzing reference statistics, I reflect on changes brought on by discovery layers and what they mean for the future.This is an electronic version of an article published in ‘Internet Reference Services Quarterly’, Volume 18, Issue 1, pages 1-13. Internet Reference Services is available online at http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/wirs20#.UzNC-k1OWUk
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