Chat: From the desk of a subject librarian

  • Porter S
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Abstract

Off-campus students at La Trobe University are a growing group who do not always receive assistance through information literacy classes, or at their time of need. Previous efforts by the subject librarian to answer e-mail queries from off-campus nursing students have sometimes been less than satisfactory for both the student and the librarian, requiring that a telephone call be made in order to conduct a reference interview. A chat reference service was offered to off-campus nursing students as an alternative method of contacting the subject librarian or the library. There was a trial in March and April 2002 using LivePerson, and involving three health sciences librarians. The trial would determine: if chat increased the number of students who sought/received help; if a reference interview can be conducted properly during a chat; and the infrastructure required to continue a chat service, particularly whether using subject librarians removes the need to roster staff on the service.; Off-campus students at La Trobe University are a growing group who do not always receive assistance through information literacy classes, or at their time of need. Previous efforts by the subject librarian to answer e-mail queries from off-campus nursing students have sometimes been less than satisfactory for both the student and the librarian, requiring that a telephone call be made in order to conduct a reference interview. A chat reference service was offered to off-campus nursing students as an alternative method of contacting the subject librarian or the library. There was a trial in March and April 2002 using LivePerson, and involving three health sciences librarians. The trial would determine: if chat increased the number of students who sought received help; if a reference interview can be conducted properly during a chat; and the infrastructure required to continue a chat service, particularly whether using subject librarians removes the need to roster staff on the service.;   Off-campus students at La Trobe University are a growing group who do not always receive assistance through information literacy classes, or at their time of need. Previous efforts by the subject librarian to answer e-mail queries from off-campus nursing students have sometimes been less than satisfactory for both the student and the librarian, requiring that a telephone call be made in order to conduct a reference interview. A chat reference service was offered to off-campus nursing students as an alternative method of contacting the subject librarian or the library. There was a trial in March and April 2002 using LivePerson, and involving three health sciences librarians. The trial would determine: if chat increased the number of students who sought/received help; if a reference interview can be conducted properly during a chat; and the infrastructure required to continue a chat service, particularly whether using subject librarians removes the need to roster staff on the service.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Academic libraries
  • Distance learning
  • Librarianship
  • Reference services
  • Students
  • Virtual libraries

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Authors

  • Susan Porter

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