Same questions, different venue: An analysis of in-person and online questions

Joseph Fennewald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


This study applied traditional categories used for classifying questions presented at reference desks to online reference services. Questions presented at Penn State's subject libraries were classified as 'Where Is,' 'Troubleshooting,' 'Policy and Service,' and 'Reference.' Definitions and examples were provided to the librarians and staff covering thirteen reference desks. These categories were then applied to Penn State's e-mail and chat reference transactions for the Fall 2002 semester. Although the types of questions were similar across the three services, there were differences in the proportion of questions by categories. This suggests that services have similar, yet distinct, functions and that the type of questions submitted differ between in-person and online and also between e-mail and chat.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-35
Number of pages15
JournalReference Librarian
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Library and Information Sciences


Dive into the research topics of 'Same questions, different venue: An analysis of in-person and online questions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this