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Ask a UC Librarian: Real-Time Online Reference

UCI librarians have joined forces with colleagues at our sister campuses to offer expanded real-time reference service using chat technology.

In 2001 UCI’s became one of the first academic libraries in the nation to offer interactive chat reference service when Ask a Librarian LIVE! was launched. With the rapid growth of web-based library resources, the Libraries saw a need to provide quick online assistance to students and faculty conducting research in the digital environment. Chat technology allows a user to communicate directly with a librarian online and receive expert help whether located physically in the library, in a campus computer lab, or at home. At UCI the popularity of our Ask a Librarian LIVE! service has grown tremendously in the six years since its debut.

In 2005 a collaborative group of UC librarians began to explore the feasibility of operating a UC-wide service in which librarians at multiple campuses would take turns answering questions from students and faculty located anywhere in the system. After a successful pilot program, the collaborative service Ask a UC Librarian was launched in November 2006. Because we share staffing of the service with other campuses, we have been able to expand chat service from 32 to 50 hours per week.

You will find Ask a UC Librarian on the Libraries’ website at www.lib.uci.edu/services/ask/ask.html. The librarian who responds to your request may be from UC Irvine, UCLA, or another UC campus. No matter the location, the librarian will answer your question quickly whether you ask “How can I renew my books from home?” or “Where can I find scholarly articles on bird flu?” We encourage you to try the service and look forward to your feedback.

For more information, contact Cynthia Johnson, Head of Langson Library Reference (cynthiaj@uci.edu x40081).


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Inside this issue

Calisphere: Digitized Primary Sources and More

Library Podcast Tours Now Available

Rare Californiana Acquired on Annis Endowment

Ask a UC Librarian: Real-Time Online Reference

Artists’ Book Exhibit Travels to Scripps College

Joan Irvine Smith Publishes Autobiography

Recruitment of Librarians Continues

Campuswide License to RefWorks Software

Library Publications Web Page Debuts

Knovel Engineering and Technology Reference Works Online

UCI Libraries Update

Mitchell Brown, Kay Collins, Jackie Dooley, Sylvia Irving, Kathryn Kjaer, Steve MacLeod, Julie Sully, Allison Tran, Christina Woo

Editor: Jackie Dooley

Design & Production:
Julia Crosara