Instant messaging reference at doctoral research universities: What is success?

Document Type


Conference Title

ACRL Women’s Studies Section Research Symposium


American Library Association


Chicago, IL

Conference Dates

Monday, July 13, 2009

Date of Presentation



Virtual reference services have been evaluated from a variety of standpoints, including user satisfaction, librarian accuracy, and choice of technology, to name a few, but current literature does not provide an evaluation of virtual reference service by usage volume across institutions. Volume is a critical metric in decision-making. Often, when an institution chooses to discontinue any type of virtual reference presence, “low volume” is cited as a key factor (Radford & Kern, 2006)

This poster discusses a study which aims to benchmark what Instant Messaging (IM) usage volume looks like across a number of Doctoral Research Universities (Carnegie Classification: DRU). Though the scope of this study will focus on one virtual reference modality (Instant Messaging) and on one group of institutions (academic libraries classified as DRUs), the benchmark criteria it seeks to establish will hopefully also inform future research and best practices regarding various virtual reference services offered at many different types of libraries –both academic and public.The poster discusses the methodology that will be employed and also contains examples of survey questions.

This document is currently not available here.