Resource Delivery and Teaching in Live Chat Reference: Comparing Two Libraries

Paula R. Dempsey

Abstract

This study investigates how reference staff at two libraries balance teaching with resource delivery in live chat reference. Analysis of 410 transcripts from one week shows that one library tends to deliver more resources from a wider range of database suggestions, to take more time in chat interactions, and to incorporate more teaching behavior with specific resource links. Two possible reasons for these differences are reference policies and staffing models: one library states that chat is for brief factual questions and monitors chat from a public service point; the other does not state a policy and monitors chat from private offices. Findings are important for staffing responsively, developing effective research guides, and improving teaching in online reference.

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Copyright Paula R. Dempsey


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