This paper suggests a research agenda for online social reference using the Socio-Technical Interaction Network (STIN) framework . It addresses the need for more research on social reference, which refers to online question asking and answering services that are provided by communities of volunteers on Q&A sites. Social reference exemplifies an interesting stage of development in two information research domains: 1) information retrieval, as it combines social input into the technological challenges; 2) reference research, as it signifies a group collaborative efforts to answer questions instead of the traditional dyadic question negotiation. The proposed research agenda draws from social informatics and suggests questions that address both the social and technological factors at work on Q&A sites.
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