Virtual Invormation Services Task Force Report
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Virtual information and reference services, be they synchronous or asynchronous, are offered by libraries of all kinds. They have been adopted and adapted to suit the needs of many institutions of higher education. The University of Maryland Libraries have been offering such services for more than ten years. Very little has changed in how the service is provided since 2003, when UMD became a member of the Maryland AskUsNow! cooperative. The Virtual Information Services Task Force set about examining the effectiveness of our current virtual reference model, considering both our staff providers and our users. We looked at whether our current staffing model is appropriate for our staff and at the same time, how it might be adjusted to deliver better service to our users. We conducted a survey of library staff, an analysis of the statistics available on UMD virtual reference activities, an environmental scan of the virtual reference activities of Committee on Institutional Cooperation libraries, an analysis of popular chat software products, and a review of the literature. The Report provides 10 general recommendations and two possible service models, which have been adopted into practice since.
The Report provides 10 general recommendations and two possible models for online reference/information services, based on findings, which have been adopted into practice since.