“Reference in the Crowd” Trendy Topics Online Conference on Digital Reference, http://www.trendytopics.info/This was a presentation done as part of the outstanding series of Trendy Topics Online conferences. The full archive of all the conference presenations plus past and future confernces can be found at http://www.trendytopics.info/. Special thanks to Tom Peteres and Lori Bell who put on the conferences and are doing a great service to the library community. Please support these and sign up for a future conference.
Abstract: Digital reference allowed us to escape the bounds of a building and any single collection. We have every right to be proud of transitioning reference from desks in the library to the desks of our members (and their phones). And yet much of this new digital freedom has carried over assumptions and policies developed in places and spaces. What we have built with software, cooperatives, and a mobilized cohort of reference librarians is not an end, but merely a platform for us to truly revolutionize reference. What does answering questions in an interconnected universe of expertise, members, resources, and freedom from the confines of the physical allow us to do? Can we create a whole new reference unrecognizable by our predecessors and infinitely better?