Chat Reference: One University’s Experience

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Book Contribution

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Chat reference is becoming prevalent in academic libraries across the country. This paper details the experience of East Tennessee State University’s Sherrod Library when initiating such a service at their institution during the 2001-2002 academic year, which began as a response to the addition of a new online degree program in the state. Software selection, staff training, management issues, and statistical data are presented. Data analyzed includes use patterns, types of questions, and categories of users. The paper details librarians’ reactions to providing reference services in this format, including the problems encountered. It also offers suggestions for a more successful implementation.