VALA2004 Session 5 Phillips

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Electronic and Live: Online Reference Two Years On

VALA 2004 CONCURRENT SESSION 5: Virtual Reference
Tuesday 3 February 2004, 15:10 – 15:40

Nicole Phillips

E-Learning Librarian, Holmesglen Institute of TAFE

VALA Peer Reviewed Paper

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When the Information Commons at Holmesglen Institute of TAFE introduced a Live Help reference service in January 2002, it became the first Victorian TAFE to develop a synchronous online reference service. Email reference had been introduced earlier with little success but this did not discourage management; rather it confirmed the need to embrace a new technology that today’s Internet savvy students are familiar with. Email and telephone reference are still available, but the success of Live Help has proven that a virtual reference service can be developed at a TAFE level. This paper will discuss the experience of setting up a digital reference service; the aim is to put this work into an historical context and to show that you don’t need enormous budgets or extra staff in order to successfully implement such a service.