Knowledge-Based Systems for General Reference Work: Applications, Problems, and Progress (Library and Information Science)

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9780125884600: Knowledge-Based Systems for General Reference Work: Applications, Problems, and Progress (Library and Information Science)

By focusing on knowledge-based systems technology, the primary purpose and goal of this book is to improve the quality of reference service rendered in libraries. Within reference service, this book examines question-answering, a complex and difficult task. For those interested in the theoretical aspects of reference work, they have to look no further than the first chapter. In addition, the book features theoretical chapters on modelling the reference transaction, a chapter on the logic of ready reference work, and a chapter on the appropriate criteria to apply in selecting an expert system shell.
Several practical chapters focus on what KBS work has already been done in the field and evaluate nearly fifty expert system development shells, so that readers can select the most appropriate shell for their domain.
The subtitle of the book is applications, problems, and progress in regard to expert systems in reference work. Applications are covered most clearly in chapter 8 which reviews the more than extant prototypes. Chapter 3 covers what is feasible, chapter 4 models the reference transaction, and chapter 7 covers interface issues so that future applications can be more successful. Problems are covered throughout the book, starting with chapter 1 which discusses the traditional emphasis on reference sources. It argues that the field needs to shift toward procedural knowledge related to work in reference departments. The chapter on expert system feasibility reveals that there are alternative ways of conceptualizing the intellectual work of an expert, and, of course, chapter 9 directly points out limitations in extant systems.
Encouraging words occur in chapter 1 about the shift to a balanced or complete paradigm for doing reference work. Similarly, the chapter on modelling is optimistic, in that reference work can be modelled and systems implemented which act like human experts. The final chapter tries to avoid the technological optimism inherent in many books on expert systems by identifying the near-term factors which will influence the development of expert systems.

Key Features
* Historical background presenting the field's paradigmatic thinking
* Decision trees for basic formats of reference material
* Flowchart modelling the reference transaction
* Reviews of more than fifty extant KBS in general reference environments
* Evaluative criteria on more than forty expert system shells

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From the Back Cover:

Knowledge-based systems (KBS) offer opportunities for improving the quality of library services. Since KBS provide the point of contact between user, librarian, and the resources, they are important to the efficiency of any library. Knowledge Based Systems for General Reference Work will assist readers in developing skills to communicate effectively about KBS and to write a prototype KBS. Topics and issues covered include the history of teaching reference work, modeling of reference transactions, logic for reference work, evaluative criteria, and the role of microcomputers in knowledge-based systems.
Key Features
* Historical background presenting the field's paradigmatic thinking
* Decision trees for basic formats of reference material
* Flowchart modeling the reference transaction
* Reviews of more than 50 extant KBS in general reference environments
* Evaluation criteria on more than 40 expert system shells
Benefits
* Provides theoretical underpinning for all subsequent development work
* Provides sound conceptual basis on which to implement systems and save valuable development time
* Provides information on current status of the field, so that developers will not have to re-invent the wheel
* Saves time for the reader who wants to pick up an expert system shell

About the Author:

John V. Richardson Jr. is professor of library and information science in the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. His research specializes in two areas: general reference work, but especially knowledge-based applications and virtual libraries, and the history of education for librarianship. Recently, he has been working on two major studies: a biographical study of N. K. Krupskaya, L. B. Khavkina, and G. Derman during the formative era of Soviet education for librarianship (i.e., 1910-1928). The second study derives from the first; there is a scholarly need for a current bi-lingual dictionary of Russian-English LIS terminology. The author of eleven books, more than two-dozen nationally refereed articles and more than one hundred book reviews, he has won numerous awards from the Association for Library and Information Science Education and the American Library Association.

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