Many libraries now provide real‐time online reference service via internet relay chat (IRC). This paper proposes a humorous training technique.
An opinion piece based on current and recent trends in online reference services.
Many libraries now provide real‐time online reference service via IRC. But chat reference service can be challenging, even for experienced reference librarians. This is because the affordances of the chat reference environment are severely limited: there are no non‐verbal cues, and the verbal exchange is limited to what can be typed. Behaviors that are successful at the reference desk may be counterproductive in this changed environment.
This paper proposes a humorous training technique, one designed to make librarians aware of these limitations and to instill behaviors that are more appropriate for chat reference service.
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