Ref Type: Journal Article
Authors: Yang, Sharon Q., Dalal, Heather A.
Title: Delivering Virtual Reference Services on the Web: An Investigation into the Current Practice by Academic Libraries.
Publication Full: Journal of Academic Librarianship
Year: 2015 Volume: 41 Issue: 1
Start Page: 68 Other Pages: 86
This article describes a study on web-based reference services in academic libraries. A random sample of 362 institutions was taken from Peterson’s Four-Year Colleges 2013. The authors scanned each library’s website for reference-related activities, specifically if the library 1) provides or advertises reference on the main page and terminology used to advertise the reference service; 2) provides chat and related information such as chat box location, provider (in-house vs. consortia), and the vendor or program used and 3) provides other forms of virtual reference through email, phone, text messaging, instant messenger, video chat, interactive knowledge base, and other technologies. The findings indicate that approximately 68% of the libraries in the sample stated reference services on the main webpage. About 74% of the libraries used at least one of the following technologies for virtual reference: email, phone, chat, IM, text, and video chat. Exactly 47.5% of the libraries provide chat. The institutions that offer more advanced degrees and have more students are more likely to offer chat than those who offer low-level degrees and fewer students. This is the only study on a large scale with details about virtual reference in academic libraries.
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