[Libs-Or] Answerland Notable Transcript Award

dan cawley librarybusiness at yahoo.com
Thu Jun 19 14:54:12 PDT 2014

Textbook example a skilled reference interviewer.  Chris's closing note is the cherry on the icing on the cake.

Dan Cawley
Seaside Public Library

On Thursday, June 19, 2014 11:58 AM, Emily PAPAGNI <emilyp at multco.us> wrote:


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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