FSU CI students "Slam the Boards"

Florida State University workshop class members's avatars in Second Life, Fall 2007
Florida State University Workshop Class Members' Avatars in Second Life, Fall 2007

Florida State University College of Information students joined information professionals and students from around the globe September 10, 2007 in "slamming the boards." They went online to "answer board" sites such as Yahoo!Answers and responded to as many questions as they could using authoritative sources. Students also participated by responding to questions through the Internet Public Library's "Ask A Question" service (IPL http://www.ipl.org). This service is staffed by trained professional librarian volunteers and graduate students in library science programs who read, research, and respond to questions asked via email by website visitors. By identifying themselves as library professionals when answering questions, participants in "Slam the Boards" raised awareness of library reference services and demonstrated the accurate, high-quality answers librarians can provide to just about any question.

With the added student volunteers during "Slam the Boards", a much higher percentage of questions were answered on the Internet Public Library. On an average day, the IPL's volunteer staff is able to work on 54% of the 50 questions it typically receives. Each question can take anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour to answer. On September 10, 2007, an impressive 84% of questions were handled.

FSU's College of Information is a major supporter of IPL. Dr. Lorri Mon, an assistant professor at FSU stated that, "Florida State University students have been answering questions in the Internet Public Library since Fall 2006. In this semester's Virtual Reference Environments class, FSU students have participated in library community actions such as Slam the Boards and Banned Books Week, in addition to working on IPL's collections. Internet Public Library provides a unique opportunity for students to get involved hands-on with all aspects of building, managing and running a digital library."

A number of students in Dr. Lorri Mon's "Virtual Reference Environments" class answered questions for IPL during the event. Class member Sheri Scovil was able to answer three questions. "Although I would have liked to answer more questions," said Sheri, "I had a great time answering each one I did, and really felt empowered being part of such a cool event."

Fellow student Suzanne Sherry also enjoyed her experience answering two questions. "Both were questions that I would have never asked, and made me search in new directions." She added, "Taking part in a reference event made the adventure seem much more important!"

Making "Slam the Boards" a regular event is currently being discussed.

To find out more about "Slam the Boards" follow these links:

Weekly News Digest http://newsbreaks.infotoday.com/wndReader.asp?ArticleId=37382

Answer Board Librarians http://answerboards.wetpaint.com/page/Slam+the+Boards!

To explore the Internet Public Library, check it out at http://www.ipl.org/

Press Release y Patricia Massard and Glynis Miller, FSU College of Information students