There has been in recent years a surge of interest about new software products that make it possible for libraries to offer assistance to online users via chat. Such software offers far more interactivity than instant messaging programs and allow for a richer experience for both librarian and user. Surveys chat reference services around the globe and analyzes trends in the provision of this new mode of assistance. Also presents discussion of why chat reference service is gathering attention as well as its limitations and drawbacks.
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