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A new world for virtual reference

Krista Godfrey (Mills Memorial Library, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada)

Library Hi Tech

ISSN: 0737-8831

Article publication date: 21 November 2008




This paper aims to examine the emerging field of reference in virtual worlds and attempts to determine its place among existing reference services. The virtual world of Second Life is the focus for these virtual world services. Advantages of virtual world reference are highlighted and drawbacks are discussed.


The paper examines two existing virtual world reference projects in an attempt to determine both the feasibility of virtual world reference and the level of need for such a service.


Both virtual world reference projects were successful and appear to indicate there is a need for reference within Second Life.

Research limitations/implications

Virtual worlds and reference within these realms are at the very early stages. There is room for detailed analysis of issues raised within the paper.

Practical implications

The paper outlines the steps of creating a collaborative and institutional virtual world reference service, including training and implications.


This paper examines the emerging field of research and practice in virtual worlds and will be of significant interest to reference librarians.



Godfrey, K. (2008), "A new world for virtual reference", Library Hi Tech, Vol. 26 No. 4, pp. 525-539.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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