Virtual service, real data: Results of a pilot study

Jo Kibbee, David Ward, Wei ma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Real-time online reference holds enormous potential for revolutionizing the way users find and use reference services. By adding interactive help to their online information services, libraries can reach users who may never have sought out the traditional reference desk. Moving from the desk to the desktop, however, can be a daunting prospect. Anxious to try this innovative service, but concerned about a long-term commitment to expensive software and possible staff reorganization without a clear mandate, the Reference and Undergraduate Libraries at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign launched a pilot project in the spring of 2001. In addition to testing the feasibility of real-time online service, we attempted to gather as much data as possible to guide in future planning. The results were gratifying: patrons responded enthusiastically, and the data collected provided valuable insights into the use and users of this service.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-36
Number of pages12
JournalReference Services Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2002


  • Academic libraries
  • Innovation
  • Real time
  • Reference libraries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Library and Information Sciences


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