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Discovery & User Experience

“If She Knew What She Wants”: Resources & follow-up

Many thanks to all who attended my talk, “If She Knew What She Wants: Librarian mind-reading tricks for fun and profit,” at Confab Central! It was a lot of fun (and learning!) putting together the talk, and terrifying but fun actually delivering it. Confab audiences are the BEST.

I’m also grateful to the friends and colleagues who were instrumental in helping me think through issues, track down resources, and put together the talk. I’m lucky to know and work with so many smart, helpful people. You all know who you are, and I owe you cookies.

And a BIG thank you to the amazing folks at Confab Events, for putting on this ridiculously well-managed and delightful conference every year. Without the stuff I’ve learned at Confab, this talk wouldn’t have existed, and I daresay the entire trajectory of my career would look different and much less interesting.

You can find my slides on Slideshare.  (You can also view a version of my slides on Haiku Deck, where the image credits are more legible.)

For Further Reading:

Coates, Ta-Nehisi. “Tolstoy Is the Tolstoy of the Zulus.” The Atlantic, Aug. 20, 2013. (This essay is the source of the quote “The best way to placate a difficult man is to ask him to teach you something.”)

Cohen, Georgy. “Content Strategy as Problem Solving.” Meet Content, Dec. 17, 2013. (Great article about the importance of identifying problems before coming up with solutions.)

Dervin, Brenda and Patricia Dewdney. “Neutral Questioning: A New Approach to the Reference Interview.” RQ, Vol. 25 No. 4, 506-513, Summer 1986. (Pioneers the concept of neutral questioning, also called sense-making questions.)

Dewdney, Patricia and Gillian Michell. “Oranges and Peaches: Understanding Communication Accidents in the Reference Interview.” RQ, Vol. 35 No. 4, 520-523, 526-536, Summer 1996. (Useful study of listening gone wrong and what we can learn from that.)

Portigal, Steve. Interviewing Users: How to Uncover Compelling Insights. Brooklyn: Rosenfeld Media, 2013. (Mainly about conducting research with end users, but has some fantastic insights – particularly in Chapter 6, “How to Ask Questions.”)

Rach, Melissa. “Stakeholder Interviews: Engage the Octopus.” Brain Traffic blog, July 26, 2012. (Brief but good piece about the role of stakeholder interviews in the content strategy discovery process.)

Rasmussen, Claire. “Do It Like a Librarian: Ranganathan for Content Strategists.” Brain Traffic blog, June 7, 2012. (Not about the reference interview, specifically, but some interesting points about the intersection of content strategy & librarianship in general.)

Ross, Catherine Sheldrick, Kirsti Nilsen, and Marie L. Radford. Conducting the Reference Interview: A How-to-Do-It Manual for Librarians. New York: Neal-Schuman, 2009. (A thorough introduction to reference interview techniques and strategies.)

Taylor, Robert S. “Question-Negotiation and Information Seeking in Libraries.” College & Research Libraries, Vol. 29 No. 3, 178-194, May 1968 (Reprinted, Vol. 76 No. 3, 2015). (Classic analysis of the reference interview.)

Young, Indi. “A New Way to Listen.” A List Apart, No. 414, Feb. 17, 2015. (A great little article about how good listening builds empathy. I tried to get her book, Practical Empathy, but it’s so new that no library would ILL it – it’s high on my reading list!)

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