Digital Reference Triage: Factors Influencing Question Routing and Assignment

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Pomerantz, Jeffrey
Nicholson, Scott
Lankes, R. David

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This article describes a Delphi study conducted to determine factors that affect the process of routing and assigning reference questions received electronically by digital reference services, both to experts within the service and between services. Fifteen factors were determined, by expert consensus, to be important at the conclusion of this study. These fifteen factors are divided into three groups: 1) general factors, 2) factors in routing the question to an individual, and 3) factors when routing the question to another service. These factors were ranked in order of importance and grouped according to the recipient of the question. These fifteen factors need to be taken into account when automating the triage process. This article has laid out a methodology for investigating other digital reference processes so that those processes amenable to automation may be automated, and experts’ talents and time may be best used.



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“Digital Reference Triage: An Investigation using the Delphi Method into the Factors Influencing Question Routing and Assignment.” Pomerantz, J., Nicholson, S., & Lankes, R. D. (2003). 73(2), The Library Quarterly. 103-120.