Faster, Better, or Both? Looking at Both Sides of Online Question-Answering Coin

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Online question‐answering (Q&A) services are becoming increasingly popular among information seekers. We divide them in two domains: social Q&A (SQA) and virtual referencing (VR) and ask what the demands and expectations are for both in satisfying information seeking needs. Using more than 30 interviews and their qualitative analysis of both experts (librarians) and end users (students), we present our findings that indicate the mismatch in experts' and end‐users' understanding of how and when each service should be used. More importantly, we show how SQA and VR differ in their functionalities and offerings, commenting on their pros and cons, and the ways in which one could create better hybrid solutions for online Q&A services.