The virtual reference desk: Building human expertise into information systems

R. David Lankes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This paper presents the Virtual Reference Desk project, its activities, and a proposed information system architecture to build a human intermediated network of expertise and experience. The Virtual Reference Desk is a project funded by the U.S. Department of Education's National Library of Education. It seeks to study, support and improve current K-12 digital reference services, so called AskA services, as well as build a foundation for a national cooperative digital reference service. The paper uses the project to demonstrate the viability of implementing a large-scale information system that directly utilizes human expertise. A preliminary technical architecture is outlined that consists of a meta-triage function to connect digital reference services, and a "shrink-wrapped" software package to help build and maintain new digital reference services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-90
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings of the ASIS Annual Meeting
StatePublished - 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Library and Information Sciences


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