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Virtual Reference Best Practices
M. Kathleen Kern
Item Number: 978-0-8389-0975-1
 
Publisher: ALA Editions
Price: $54.00
 
 
 
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160 pages
8.5" x 11"
Softcover
ISBN-13: 978-0-8389-0975-1
Year Published: September 2008
AP Categories: A, C, I

Read sample chapters and the book's index now!


When it comes to virtual reference, one size doesn't fit all. What works in one library won't necessarily work in another. How do you figure out what to do? The recently published Virtual Reference Service Guidelines from the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), which is reproduced in appendix A, provides the starting point. Kern, a leading virtual reference expert, outlines the tools and decision-making processes that will help you and your library evaluate, tailor, and launch virtual reference services that are a perfect fit for your community and your library.

Moving from general guidelines to making concrete decisions about integrating virtual with traditional reference, Virtual Reference Success

  • Provides a handy checklist of issues to consider
  • Suggests plans for sustainability of services
  • Offers activities and discussion points that support decision making
  • Shares proven sample policies and materials currently in use
  • Summarizes practical one-page "Research You Can Use"
  • Outlines the pros and cons of collaborating in a consortium

    Reference librarians, heads of library services, and managers of virtual reference services will welcome this flexible approach with its wealth of exercises and resources to implement immediately. Here's everything you need to reach sound and sustainable decisions about virtual reference services.


    Table of Contents
    Acknowledgments
    Introduction

    1. Defining Virtual Reference
    2. Implementing Virtual Reference: Is It the Right Thing, Right Now?
    3. Who Are We Doing This For?
    4. Buy-in: Gaining Commitment and Support
    5. Policies: Setting Expectations of Who, When, and What
    6. Selecting Software
    7. Communication: Do I Have to Learn a New Language?
    8. Determining a Staffing Model
    9. Assessing the Costs: Budgeting for Virtual Reference
    10. Collaborative Virtual Reference
    11. Aspects of Training
    12. Marketing Your Virtual Reference Service
    13. Assessment and Evaluation: How Are We Doing?
    14. The Road Ahead: Next Steps and Emerging Technologies

    Appendixes
    A. Guidelines for Implementing and Maintaining Virtual Reference Services
    B. Market Assessment
    C. Preparing for Virtual Reference: A Checklist Index


    About the Author
    M. Kathleen Kern is digital services coordinator in Central Reference Services at the University of Illinois at Urbana. She is a past chair of Reference and User Services Association's (RUSA) Machine Assisted Reference Section (MARS) and co-chaired the committee that authored Guidelines for Implementing and Maintaining Virtual Reference Services. She earned her MSLIS from the University of Illinois at Urbana.
    Reviews

    "While there are various publications on how to conduct virtual reference, none of them cover the best practices in such a thorough manner ... This book would be a valuable guiding source for any libraries, public or academic, that would like to either introduce virtual reference into their library services or to enhance and evaluate their service qualities in their Virtual Reference programs."
    --Internet Reference Services Quarterly

    "The author’s professional, but informal, writing style is charming and easy to read. This is a useful source, recommended in particular for those libraries looking to make an initial foray into chat reference."
    --Catholic Library World
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