Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

Messages from MARS: Machine-Assisted Reference Section

Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

Messages from MARS: Machine-Assisted Reference Section

Article excerpt

From the Chair

This has been a productive year for MARS. Completing our quinquennial section review has afforded us an opportunity to look over our accomplishments and consider the focus we have maintained "on the intersection of technology and the library user." That focus has been manifest in the three programs organized for the Atlanta conference: "Usability Testing for Reference Librarians," "Bringing Resources Together: The Digital Library meets Google," and "The Care and Feeding of the Virtual Librarian." Virtual reference reappears as the subject of our Atlanta preconference "Digital Reference @ your library," organized in just more than six months, and in our new Virtual Reference Discussion Group, established to ensure a home within ALA for those implementing this important new service. Space does not allow mention of last year's many exciting discussions on topics from personalizable Web sites, to electronic collections on a shoestring, to Google addiction. Publications have not been neglected, as a substantial bibliography of user studies appeared in RUSQ Web publications on innovative Web-based reference services and Web training sites continue to be updated, and the annual list of MARS Best Free Web Sites has been published on the Web and in RUSQ. …

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