October 27-29 Monterey Marriott
Monterey, California
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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

D302 - Crowdsourcing Library Help & Reference Systems

11:30 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
Ilana Stonebraker, Business Information Specialist (Assistant Professor of Library Science), Purdue University
Tao Zhang, Digital User Experience Specialist (Assistant Professor of Library Science), Purdue University

Two librarians at a large public university, with the aid of a computer science research assistant and an IMLS Sparks! Ignition grant, created a crowdsourced library help system, CrowdAsk, to test the viability of a crowdsourced reference model. CrowdAsk provides a centralized and engaging platform for students in a class to receive assistance, and experts, including librarians, faculty, and students, to share knowledge and experience within the user community. CrowdAsk is a gamified system, relying on points and badges to encourage user activities. Asking questions, answering questions, and voting up/down questions and answers lead to points and badges to encourage learning and engagement. There are many levels in the system with various privileges, many of which can be reached through points while administrative privileges are assigned. This talk covers the development of CrowdAsk over a year, as well as beta-testing with 500 users in entry-level information literacy and English composition classes and usability testing of CrowdAsk with experienced and novice users.

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