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With the proliferation of online resources and distance education opportunities, many libraries are attempting to meet user demands by expanding their reference services beyond the face-to-face or telephone reference interaction.Rather than offer a one-size-fits-all reference service, many libraries now provide a suite of reference services which include both synchronous (real-time interaction such as online chat or video conferencing) and asynchronous reference services (such as e-mail and short messaging service (SMS)/text messaging).found users preferred seeking library assistance through the library website (42.4 percent, n = 70), reference librarian (14.5 percent, n = 24), friend (10.9 percent, n = 18), online chat (10.3 percent, n = 17), telephone (10.3 percent, n = 17), e-mail (7.2 percent, n = 12), and other (3.6 percent, n = 6).In a separate study of 276 students and faculty at two four-year public universities in the South Atlantic region, however, Johnson found face-to-face and e-mail to be the most popular reference mediums.

As academic libraries become fully immersed in the twenty-first century, they are beginning to realize that to best meet user needs, they must first look at user preferences.In this study, survey respondents listed their first choice for seeking reference help with a research project as face-to-face (66.4 percent, n = 174), followed by e-mail (20.2 percent, n = 53), telephone (9.2 percent, n = 24), and online chat reference (4.2 percent, n = 11).Granfield and Robertson found that preference for a reference medium may be dependent upon whether an individual is seeking assistance from within the library or virtually.Further, the design of the virtual reference interface may not play a major role in determining users’ opinions of virtual reference services.In a two part survey (n = 100 academic library websites) and virtual reference services usability study (n = 23), Mu et al.

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