Collections > Master's Papers > School of Information and Library Science > Online Chat Reference: The Awareness of, Use of, Interest in, and Marketing of This New Reference Service Technology

Reference librarians have converted a significant portion of library resources to electronic format and now they must contemplate moving the reference interview itself to the electronic environment. This study consisted of survey and interview components carried out at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. The survey inquired about university affiliates' awareness of, use of, and interest in reference services, with a particular focus on online chat reference. Three librarians were interviewed, who provided information about the development and marketing of the online chat reference service at their respective institutions. Survey respondents reported strong prior usage of face-to-face reference and a desire to use this service first when pursuing research topics. Awareness and use of the online chat reference service at each institution was comparatively low, but respondents forecasted the service would be among the most heavily used in ten years.