Chat Reference Update

Since its introduction to the College of Staten Island (CSI) Library in 2009, Chat Reference has become a major means of providing reference services. Chat reference is a great resource for communicating with librarians to guide patrons to appropriate resources for their research project, assist patrons with developing successful research strategies, and helping patrons search print and electronic resources effectively. Especially if patrons off-campus need assistance finding specific books, articles, journals, databases at CSI, and other resources for their research, chat reference is a great tool to use.

The CSI Library’s chat service is available seven days a week from 11:00am-10:00pm. In the Fall 2011 semester the CSI Library received 299 questions in the chat service, which is building on the 269 questions we received in Spring 2011 and 263 questions we received in Fall of 2010. Chat reference requires librarians to develop new skills in order to help library patrons find the information they need.  One of the key difficulties that librarians at CSI have discovered when assisting patrons via chat is that it is much more difficult to help a student who is unsure or unclear about the nature of their assignment. We recommend that students type in the assignment so that we can better guide them to the needed resources.

The chart below illustrates the percentage of all chat reference messages that the CSI Library receives in various categories. They include: Reference, Title Search, Library Information, Technical Help, Citations, and General Information about the College. As you can see, these questions cover quite a range. Therefore, chat reference remains a dynamic aspect of the CSI Library’s services.

Figure #1 – Chat Questions by Type  Fall 2011


For more information on the CSI Library’s Chat Reference Service, please contact:

Professor Jonathan Cope
Instruction/Reference Librarian
(718) 982-3804