[Libs-Or] Answerland Notable Transcript Award

Emily PAPAGNI emilyp at multco.us
Thu Jun 19 11:57:31 PDT 2014


Answerland, Oregon's Statewide Virtual Reference service (
http://www.answerland.org/), recognizes Chris Jakel of Multnomah County
Library for his excellent virtual reference work while staffing the service
in January 2014. Chris’s transcript is online at


Although the patron initially asked, “How many women received degrees in
physical chemistry in 1920 to 1930 in the United States compared to other
countries,” the patron actually had a very different question. It was
through Chris’s skillful reference interview that the actual reference need
was revealed.

The patron, a college student, needed the information in order to write a
blog post assigned to a class. The initial question transitioned into a
question about Maria Telkes and women’s rights in Hungary and the U.S. Then
it became a question about finding general statistics on the number of
professionals in the solar energy field in 1948. And then it became a
question about what was Hungarian and U.S. culture like for women in the

Chris ultimately identified the reference question as a query about how
many women were trained for the solar energy field, how large the field
was, and how many professionals were employed in the solar energy field
after World War II.

Throughout the chat Chris considered various options including a search of
research on women and science degrees, authorship on scientific research in
the field at that time, membership in professional organizations related to
the field, and teaching positions held.

As Chris worked with the patron to clarify the question, he noted that it
can be challenging to find information on women's contributions in areas
where traditionally (or institutionally) they have been marginalized.

>From the beginning to the end of the conversation Chris was friendly and
welcoming and used authoritative resources. Chris referred the question to
email follow-up so that other librarians could work further on the
question. He concluded the conversation by saying, “you have a fascinating,
complex, puzzling and exciting task ahead of you! :-D.”

We think that Chris’s work on this question is fascinating and notable.

The Quality Team is impressed with Chris’s friendly tone, knowledge of
authoritative resources, and work identifying the actual reference

As an expression of our appreciation, Chris was presented with flowers and
a certificate. Please join us in congratulating him!

The Answerland Quality Team

Stephanie Debner, Mt. Hood Community College (stephanie.debner at mhcc.edu)

Joanna Milner, Multnomah County Library (joannam at multcolib.org)

Hillary Ostlund, Hillsboro Public Library (
Hillary.Ostlund at hillsboro-oregon.gov)

Emily Papagni, Multnomah County Library (emilyp at multco.us)
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