The Future of Library Research

Tommy Pham | New University

Tommy Pham | New University

Silvia Jiang

The UC Irvine Langson Library held a workshop on researching for historical references in a 21st century library on Friday, March 1, led by Julie Sully, Interim Director of Library Development; Cynthia Johnson, Acting Head of Grunigen Medical Library; and Rebecca Imamoto, Research Librarian for History, Art History, Philosophy, Religious Studies, Visual Studies, African American Studies and Logic & Philosophy of Science.

“So today, we want to show you a little bit about how the research process has changed in our reference services and some other things we are doing, and also let you explore some historical resources and some examples that you can play around with,” Sully said in regards to the exhibit.

Since 2006, all of the University of California libraries were connected together to provide references by using real-time chat. A UCI student or professor could get help from a UC Berkley librarian. In 2008, the UC libraries joined a consociation called QuestionPoint, which allows people to ask questions everywhere in this country 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. According to the data, 1,827 UC Irvine students used the service from July 2012 to Jan. 2013.

The “Ask A Librarian!” section at the bottom left side of the UCI Libraries webpage provides access to a librarian from the UC system, or from a library that belongs to the national 24/7 Reference Cooperative. After providing one’s name and email address, the chat session begins. A chat transcript will be sent to the email address that has been provided after the session ends.

Tommy Pham | New University

Tommy Pham | New University

Since last summer, the UC library system began to use Google+ Hangout for screen sharing. It asks students to provide the topic that they are working on when making the appointment so that the library can match them with the appropriate people. Because of the technology, the students can actually see the librarian’s screen themselves.

“When the librarian wants to show me something, her computer screen pops up and becomes mine,” Imamoto said.

QR code, one of the newer tools of  the 21st century, has been recently added in reference service.  The library is trying to put QR codes in books so that students can get electronic versions in the future. Students can also find QR codes of the tutoring videos on how to utilize their print cards, for example, and download it to their smart phones and tablets.

The access of articles in newspapers and magazines is almost unlimited for students and faculties.

“I always recommend the students to use advanced research,” Imamoto said. Students can find a 100-year-old article through the library database, which is not available from free resources anywhere else.

Tommy Pham | New University

Tommy Pham | New University

After introducing all of the researching tools in reference service, Johnson gave some examples to suggest the important role that libraries play in studying the past. She accessed a website called “Artstor” from the school library page and searched for the pictures that were taken almost 200 years ago.

“It is important for the community to understand how the libraries are actively transforming themselves to better serve our students and life-long learners,” Sully said.

“Obviously, today with the Internet changing so much about how information has been accessed and been used, the library continually rebuilding itself, in terms of its collections, either print or electronic, as well as the services to help people to access them. This is one of the ways to make people aware that there are many ways to access information today.”