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E‐mail and chat reference: assessing patron satisfaction

Bruce Stoffel (Assistant Professor and Education/Social Science Librarian, at Milner Library, Illinois State University, Normal, Illinois, USA)
Toni Tucker (Assistant to the Dean for Grants and Public Relations, at Milner Library, Illinois State University, Normal, Illinois, USA)

Reference Services Review

ISSN: 0090-7324

Article publication date: 1 June 2004



In fall 2002, Illinois State University librarians surveyed their e‐mail and chat reference patrons to determine how they feel about the services and how the services might be improved. The survey also attempted to identify the extent to which the services are used in conjunction with more traditional reference venues. While most electronic reference services utilize brief “pop‐up” forms to survey patrons, Illinois State patrons were invited via e‐mail to complete a more extensive online survey form. Approximately 400 patrons were surveyed, and a response rate of 17 percent was achieved. Results indicate a high level of satisfaction with electronic reference, the desirability of retaining both services despite the more immediate need of chat, and the need to cross‐market reference services. Survey participation suggests that use of e‐mail and online forms to survey electronic reference patrons may be effective in the case of e‐mail reference, but not chat.



Stoffel, B. and Tucker, T. (2004), "E‐mail and chat reference: assessing patron satisfaction", Reference Services Review, Vol. 32 No. 2, pp. 120-140.



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Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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