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Ref Type: Journal Article

Authors: Horowitz,Lisa R., Flanagan,Patricia A., Helman,Deborah L.,

Title: The viability of live online reference: An assessment

Publication Full: Portal: Libraries and the Academy

Year: 2005 Volume: 5 Issue: 2

Start Page: 239 Other Pages: 258

Descriptors: ELECTRONIC reference services (Libraries), COMPUTER network resources, REFERENCE services (Libraries), ONLINE information services, ELECTRONIC mail messages, EMPLOYEES,


The article focuses on digital reference in libraries which offers the opportunity to make help available from anywhere, as does the "anytime, anywhere" accessibility of online collections to which users have become accustomed. The virtual location permits the service to be located in one online place, even for campuses with multiple library units. This may drive a totally new staffing arrangement never possible before. The study shows that live staffing were disproportionately high for the rate of use of the service. Given the findings, the group assessing the service confirmed that despite its value to some users, the live service did not justify the support required. Though synchronous online help might find a broader audience with lime, for the immediate future e-mail reference could provide fairly fast help if managed differently To provide a chat service, a product would be required that would minimize the time necessary for training, scheduling, and managing the service. It is important to continue to consider chat technology as a possible reference service, given the validity that it has obtained in other libraries.


M3: Article; Horowitz, Lisa R. 1; Email Address: lisah@mit.edu; Flanagan, Patricia A. 2; Email Address: patf@wpi.edu; Helman, Deborah L. 3; Email Address: dhelman@mit.edu; Affiliations: 1: Coordinator of central reference services, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Libraries, Cambridge, MA. 2: Director of user services, George C. Gordon Library, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, MA. 3: Associate head and reference coordinator, Barker Engineering Library, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA. Source Info: Apr2005, Vol. 5 Issue 2, p239; Thesaurus Term: ELECTRONIC reference services (Libraries); Thesaurus Term: COMPUTER network resources; Thesaurus Term: REFERENCE services (Libraries); Thesaurus Term: ONLINE information services; Thesaurus Term: ELECTRONIC mail messages; Subject Term: EMPLOYEES; Number of Pages: 20p. Document Type: Article

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Retrieved Date:January 1, 1970

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Issn Isbn: 15312542