An expert system at the reference desk: Impressions from users

Nancy J. Butkovich, Kathryn L. Taylor, Sharon H. Dent, Ann S. Moore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


A prototype expert system is being tested by technical writing classes at Texas A&M University. In this course students learn to conduct library research by completing a two-part assignment, the first of which is to locate basic reference materials in their fields of study. The expert system assists in this search. Loaded into the database are records for standard reference sources in selected disciplines. When a student types a natural language request, such as "I need bibliographies on geology,” the system analyzes the request and provides a list of titles, call numbers, locations, types of sources, and broad subject headings. The students can then use this list in the second part, a research project. Students were given two questionnaires. The first evaluated their familiarity with reference sources and prior library research experience; the second surveyed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)61-74
Number of pages14
JournalReference Librarian
Issue number23
StatePublished - May 23 1989

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Library and Information Sciences


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