Developing a model to provide digital reference services

James A Stemper, John T. Butler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Developing digital reference services within a large library system requires managing fundamental organizational issues before applying technological strategies. Using the development of library services for distance learners as a catalyst, the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities Libraries have implemented an organizational model for providing digital reference services to all students, faculty and staff who access the library remotely. The resulting service, InfoPoint, has the dual role of providing reference service and making referrals to over 30 information service units in the library system. Details the planning and implementation process by which the libraries developed this centrally coordinated digital reference service within a historically decentralized environment. Initial conclusions based on the service's first two years of operation are presented. In conclusion discusses organizational change issues and the value of digital reference services in the digital library.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)172-189
Number of pages18
JournalReference Services Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2001


  • Academic libraries
  • Information retrieval
  • Organizational change
  • Planning
  • Reference services


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