VALA2008 Session 13 Davis

VALA Peer Reviewed PaperBe my buddy: IM and the future of virtual reference

VALA 2008 CONCURRENT SESSION 13: Virtual Reference
Thursday 7 February 2008 10:45 – 11:15
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Kate Davis

Electronic Services Librarian, Gold Coast City Council Library Service

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In 2006, the administrators of the Australian virtual reference service, AskNow, entered the Instant Messaging (IM) arena. One of the first large scale, collaborative IM services in the world, the AskNow IM trial provided a unique opportunity to prove IM virtual reference as a concept, as well as to test the technology itself. This paper will discuss the rationale and impetus for the trial, explore the successes and stumbling blocks encountered during the establishment and evolution of the trial and the service model, examine the lessons learnt throughout the trial, and conclude by discussing the way forward for IM services and virtual reference.