Full Record – Author

Ref Type: Journal Article

Authors: Walker,Stephanie R.,

Title: Low volume, funding, staffing and technical problems are key reasons for discontinuation of chat reference services

Publication Full: Evidence Based Library and Information Practice

Year: 2007 Volume: 2 Issue: 3

Start Page: 97 Other Pages: 100

Descriptors: SPECIAL libraries, ACADEMIC libraries, LIBRARIES, PUBLIC libraries, LIBRARIANS, UNITED States,


Objective – To investigate the reasons behind the cessation of 9 virtual (chat) reference services. Design – Multiple case-study investigation Setting – Academic, public, and special libraries in the United States. Subjects – Five academic libraries, 1 public library, and 3 library consortia. Methods – The initial method used to identify discontinued chat reference services was via a posting to DIG_REF, the digital reference services listserv. From this initial posting, librarians on the list also suggested other cases, for a total of 7. Two cases later came to the authors' attention and were added. The 9 cases included academic libraries, a public library, and consortia who used tools provided by four major software vendors, giving a good cross-section of the types of libraries participating in VR and the major software packages available at the time. A contact person for each discontinued service was invited to participate. The participants were geographically scattered, so data were collected via e-mail questionnaires, telephone interviews, and examination of available documents describing the services, audiences, demographics, operations, and any decision-making processes either for starting or discontinuing the service. The authors then compared and contrasted results obtained from the 9 services. The authors analysed reasons for discontinuation of services, the decision making processes, volume of questions, service hours, marketing, evaluation, and whether the service might be restarted at some time in the future. Main Results – Although the VR services discussed were being delivered by diverse organizations, some commonalities emerged. All 9 services used existing staff and added chat reference to their duties. In all but one case, the hours of service offered when VR began were within the hours that the libraries were already open to the public. In the exception (Case E), there were hours of service after the libraries were closed, from 7-10 p.m. These… [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]; Copyright of Evidence Based Library & Information Practice is the property of University of Alberta, Learning Services and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)


M3: Article; Walker, Stephanie R. 1; Email Address: swalker@brooklyn.cuny.edu; Affiliations: 1: Associate Librarian for Information Services, Brooklyn College – City University of New York Brooklyn, New York, United States of America Source Info: Oct2007, Vol. 2 Issue 3, p97; Thesaurus Term: SPECIAL libraries; Thesaurus Term: ACADEMIC libraries; Thesaurus Term: LIBRARIES; Thesaurus Term: PUBLIC libraries; Thesaurus Term: LIBRARIANS; Subject Term: UNITED States; Number of Pages: 4p. Document Type: Article

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Retrieved Date:January 1, 1970

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Issn Isbn: 1715720X