An expert system at the reference desk: Impressions from users

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

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


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 62their opinion of the expert system. Patron reactions, problems encountered, and future changes will be discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationExpert Systems in Reference Services
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781000756432
ISBN (Print)9780367370473
StatePublished - Dec 6 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


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