Who will answer Ask a Librarian guestions - the specialists or librarians? How big is this service? How good (accurate, detailed) are the answers?
People who are giving answers in our service are all librarians. In addition of 51 public libraries there are also special libraries participating this service.
The Ask a Librarian started in 1999. We have sent almost 70 000 answers (-2018). Of these almost 40 000 are in the public archive of the service. In the year 2017 2830 questions were answered, this year 3054 (1.1.2018-22.10.2018). In the year 2017 174 different librarians answered question in the service.
It is a bit difficult to estimate how good (accurate, detailed) the answers are. Our target is to give as good answers as possible. We usually give a couple of good sources (books and web-sites) but quite often also advice, how to search (adresses of the databases, suitable keywords and so on). If the question is about some fact, we give it if we have found it. Sometimes after quite long searching from Internet and books we have to answer that we didn’t find the answer. Sometimes we recommend the customer to contact some other organisation or specialist and we give the contact information of the organisation/specialist. Compared to reference-desk work, there is more time to use for searching, there is a bigger staff available, thus it's atleast in theory possible to reach the librarian who knows the subject best.
Most questioners are very satisfied and send very positive feedback.
You can find more answers in our Archive, https://www.libraries.fi/ask/search search with the keyword Ask a Librarian. And if you haven’t already, read also "About Ask a Librarian Service" in https://www.libraries.fi/ask/info .