This article was based on some work we did for this presentation at the Virtual Reference Summit in 2008. From the conclusion:
It is easy to let the technology be a barrier to teaching and learning. It is easy to assume, in the absence of visual cues, that patrons who come to us via virtual reference services are not interested in learning how to search for themselves. Facilitating exploratory search via virtual reference does not depend on new technology, it depends on policies, reference interview skills, and perhaps most important, attitudes that are geared towards looking for opportunities to put the patron in control of his or her learning. New technology features or tools might make this switch easier or more successful, but in the absence of an instruction-focused attitude there is no technology that will make instruction simpler, more effective, or more prevalent.
Open Access Mandate
In this case, the open access mandate didn’t really influence our behavior, but it probably pushed some things up a little higher on the priority list, and made it more important to follow up on things that we would have wanted to do anyway. It influenced the choice of venue – RSR is published by Emerald, a Romeo green publisher. When we weren’t sure what version to archive, the mandate pushed us to more actively communicate with the journal editor for clarity.