Document (#11258)

Author
Terbille, C.
Title
Queuing theory and reference transaction
Source
Reference services review. 23(1995) no.3, S.75-84
Year
1995
Abstract
Although queuing theory was first applied to reference work in 1978, it has not played an important role in recent discussions. In this article, Terbille reintroduces it as a conceptual tool to give fresh insight into reference traffic congestion. First, he considers a well-ordered queue with one librarian (server) where arrival time and duration coincide perfectly. Then, he shows what happens whenpatrons arrive at random intervals. next, he considers the effect of variation in the duration of transactions, and of staffing patterns with two servers. He shows that either the librarian or the patron must always wait. The theory offers no single dramatic 'solution' to reference desk congestion, but it suggests many small steps to cope with diverse undesirable situations

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