Digital Reference Services for Engineers

Definition of an Engineer
Types of Information Sources
Accessibility / Ease of Use
Technical Quality
Stages of Information Seeking
The Reference Interview
Digital Reference
References (pdf)
Appendix (pdf)

The Reference Interview

Due to their independent nature, engineers are not always willing to delegate information seeking to a third party. They want to search for themselves in case there is information that is of interest to them that would not be recognized by someone else (Ellis & Haugan, 1997). In this case the reference interview can be effectively implemented through an online chat service, especially through a widget that is directly integrated into the company’s main Intranet page. This provides engineers with a convenient place to turn when their search efforts prove frustrating (Martin, 2003). Integrating a remote-access, desktop sharing feature with chat would be particularly effective. The librarian would be able to walk the engineer through the search process using real-time demonstrations, rather than having to talk them through it. It is often more important for an engineer to feel that they are getting close to relevant answer than to find information quickly (Kraaijenbrink, 2007). By walking through the search process with the engineer, the librarian can be providing assurances that they are moving in the right direction towards a relevant answer and not wasting time searching.