Last November I attended the 2009 Charleston Conference: "Issues in Book and Serial Acquisitions." E-content, licensing, business models, and a host of other issues were discussed. There were several presentations on reference, one in particular titled "Interactive Reference," presented by Tom Beyer, director of publishing at iFactory, and myself Part of the RDW Group, iFactory designs and engineers a variety of online products, including Sage Reference Online, Rosen's Teen Health 6-Wellness, and multiple Oxford products. During the presentation, Beyer discussed the state of online reference and the variety of interactive features that could be useful in the next-generation products. Beyer defined a reference product as "something that will answer our questions in a way that is authoritative, accurate, and comprehensible," and he suggested that "the reference platform should interact with us to do that job better." So just how should the reference platform interact with us? In any number of ways, but Beyer focused his discussion in two areas, content and the user.
(2010). Interactive Online Reference. Booklist, 106 (9-10), 116.