Uniform TitleRequesting in library reference service interactions
NameDowning, Arthur (author), Mandelbaum, Jenny (chair), Stewart, Lea (internal member), Robinson, Jeffrey (internal member), Lerner, Gene (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - New Brunswick,
SubjectCommunication, Information and Library Studies,
Reference services (Libraries),
DescriptionThis dissertation is a conversation-analytic study of requests and the opening sequences that set up requesting in service interactions at a reference desk. The data reveal that openings consist minimally of an approach-availability display sequence followed by a request. Patrons and librarians jointly shape the course of action to provide a slot in which a request is expectable. Greetings may be used to: (1) maintain a state of engagement in an incipient interaction when initiated too far from the desk to transact business through talk or (2) advance to requesting by projecting the conditional relevance of a request in the next turn via a greeting+solicit construction or by reducing the opening through turn taking practices.
Patrons typically produce a request by presenting an assistable formulated as an unfinished activity. In the data requests make either instruction-giving or giving access to library resources relevant. Librarians' responses display their understanding of a turn as doing requesting by proposing a solution to the patron's problem, beginning to work on a solution, or initiating an interrogative sequence that solicits information relevant to a solution. When a request is not assistance-ready, the interactants collaborate on the production of an actionable request by: (1) augmenting the request turn; (2) initiating an interrogative insertion sequence; (3) constructing an extended, narrative request turn.
This study identifies the feature of needing assistance with completing a library-related activity as highly relevant to request-making. Librarians' orientation to this feature is consequential to the course of action, for when a patron does not construct a request around an unfinished activity, the librarian may: (1) respond as though the request had been formulated around an unfinished activity or (2) solicit a reformulation of the request in terms of an unfinished activity. The findings have implications for librarians' re-conceptualization of requesting as a social action and the improvement of professional practices based on the use of naturalistic data for research and training. The findings also support and extend prior research on the beginnings of face-to-face encounters, and on institutional talk-in-interaction, in particular work on the interrelationship of verbal and nonverbal practices in service encounters.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references (p. 176-184).
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.