Beyond Chat: Digital Reference in Academic Libraries

A presentation by Stephen Francoeur (Baruch College) to the library staff of Temple University and Princeton University. Princeton University Library, 7 August 2009.

Since the mid-1990s, academic libraries have relied almost exclusively on email and chat/instant messaging systems to power their digital reference services. In the past few years, though, a number of libraries have been experimenting with an increasing array of web 2.0 technologies to enrich the email/chat services and trying out other communication channels to explore their potential. This presentation will focus on what we have learned about what works in digital reference, what doesn't work, and what might work in the coming years.

Stephen Francoeur is an information services librarian at Baruch College. He serves on the QuestionPoint 24/7 Reference Advisory Board and administers the group subscription of six CUNY colleges to the QuestionPoint service. He has written about virtual reference services for print and online publications, particularly at his blog, Digital Reference.