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Stephen Francoeur's picture

Best recent articles on digital reference

What are the best articles or blog posts or presentations you seen, heard, read, browsed lately that talk about any aspect or form of digital reference (chat reference, email reference, SMS reference, IM, reference, Q&A reference services, etc.)

I realize that there is a great bibliography of digital reference already. I'm looking for personal recommendations here, not just lists.


Stephen Francoeur

Digital Reference

Amanda Clay Powers's picture

I just finished:

"Reference service in face-to-face and virtual environments" / Marie L. Radford & Lorri M. Mon

It's a chapter in an ACRL publication called Academic Library Research: Perspectives and Current trends, edited by Marie L. Radford and Pamela Snelson. (2008)

It's a great overview of what's happened and what the current issues are that are on the table for Academic Libraries.  I like that it gives a more holistic perspective of VR--including its relationship to IRL reference services, and that it synthesizes recent research in the field and predicts trends that will impact Reference services in general, and VR specifically.  

I highly recommend it.

Amanda Clay Powers
Coordinator of Research Services
Mississippi State University Libraries

Laura Kortz's picture

I recently read this article: http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~content=a904648444~db=all~order...

and thought it was really excellent because they actually gave explicit examples how to be friendly, warm and approachable in the VR environment. I've never seen anyone do this quite as well.

Also, Lynn Westbrook's Virtual Reference Training: The Second Generation available here:


Wonderful because it brings in theories from psychology, education, communication and HCI.  


Joseph Thompson's picture

This was certainly my favorite presentation from the 2004 VRD Conference and the importance of the content has stuck with me in the years since:

Virtual Reference Desk Conference 2004, Hilton Netherland Hotel, Cincinnati, Ohio
Teens and Chat Reference: A Match Made in Heaven or…?.pdf
Presented by Sharon Morris, Laura Kortz, and Louise Greene

Laura Kortz's picture

Oh, I remember that one! That *was* a good presentation! I proposed to Sharon doing a 5-year look back: Teens and Chat Ref: where are we now ... Maybe for the next Reference Renaissance?