Online chat reference: Survey results from affiliates of two universities
Reference librarians have converted a significant portion of library resources to electronic format and are now beginning to move the reference interview itself to the electronic environment. This study consisted of a survey carried out at two four-year public universities in the South Atlantic region. The survey inquired about university affiliates' awareness of, use of, and interest in reference services, with a particular focus on online chat reference (synchronous digital reference). Survey respondents reported strong prior use of face-to-face reference and a desire to use this service first when pursuing research topics. Awareness and use of the online chat reference service at each institution was comparatively low, but respondents forecasted the service would be among the most heavily used in ten years.