From IM to collaboration: Providing virtual reference services at a medium-sized institution

Terri Pedersen Summey, Cynthia Akers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations


As library service providers for distance learners, we are constantly searching for ways to assist them in their use of library resources. Virtual (real-time chat) reference is yet another tool to utilize in reaching these students. While virtual reference has been around for several years and many libraries offer such services, as a medium-sized institution, Emporia State University took some time to move into providing such a service on a formal basis. Several issues, including staffing and funding, delayed entrance into this arena. It was not until a collaborative academic reference venture among several academic libraries in the state was proposed that the ESU library was able to offer this service. Advantages and disadvantages of the collaboration will be discussed, as well as lessons learned that can be applied to any collaborative project. doi:10.1300/J106v13n04_06Copyright (c) by The Haworth Press, Inc. All rights reserved.College & Undergraduate Libraries1342007032075951069-1316PDFEnglisharticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-95
Number of pages21
JournalCollege and Undergraduate Libraries
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 20 2007


  • Academic libraries
  • Chat reference
  • Collaboration
  • Distance library services
  • Instant messenger
  • Reference services
  • Virtual reference

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