The Chat Reference Interview: Practicalities and Advice.

Tammy Bobrowsky, Lynne Beck, Malaika Grant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The popularity of chat reference services is evident, as seen from participation by libraries of all types and sizes. Librarians have long been taught and honed skills to assist the patron in face-to-face reference interviews, but this new medium has forced librarians to rethink those skills. The article discusses the practicalities of conducting a reference interview through chat, as opposed to face-to-face or in-person reference. Actual chat transcripts and surveys from the chat reference librarians at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities Libraries are used to illustrate the relationship and tension between instruction and reference in the chat interview. Also included are training suggestions, ways to compensate for the lack of visual cues, and advice from veteran chat reference librarians.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)179-191
Number of pages13
JournalReference Librarian
Issue number89/90
StatePublished - Jan 1 2005


  • LIBRARY reference services
  • REFERENCE interviews (Library science)
  • INFORMATION services
  • Chat reference interview
  • chat reference services
  • reference interview


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