School of Information Sciences -- Faculty Publications and Other Works

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Library Journal

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Virtual reference services seem a natural extension of libraries digital collections and the emphasis on access to the library anytime, anywhere. If patrons use the library from home, it makes sense to provide them with person-to-person online reference. The Library of Congress (LC), OCLC, and several large library systems have developed and promoted virtual reference services, which are now offered by thousands of libraries. Recently, however, some virtual reference pioneers are questioning the cost benefits of online reference and recommending caution. This article shares some negatives and alternatives to online reference chatting.


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