Best Practices for Quality Chat Reference
Updated December 7, 2018 by the Answerland Quality Team
Each year, Answerland’s Quality Team requests that librarians send us transcripts that highlight the best of the best in chat reference. We use the Rubric for Quality Chat Reference (aka Chat Rubric) to evaluate chat sessions. Since the rubric is very simple, we’d like to provide some in-depth Answerland chat reference best practices for new librarians, long-time Answerlanders, and volunteers. Please contact a member of the Quality Team with any suggestions or questions.
For more information on chat reference best practices, see the More Resources section.
Click on the rubric steps below to expand/collapse each section.
A note about multiple patrons:
Answerland encourages librarians to pick up one patron at a time. Only pick up the second patron if you are comfortable and proficient at handling more than one patron, such that the service you provide to either patron will not be impeded by picking up the second patron.2
Sources of Information
Quality of Resources
Provide professional-level search assistance
If you are still helping a patron and it is the end of your shift:
Click on the tips below to expand/collapse each section.
Many of the questions Answerland receives through the public queue are not "reference" per se. They are about circulation/accounts (holds, fines, etc.), troubleshooting (ebooks, PIN resets, etc.), and services (when is xyz program, is there a fax machine, etc.). Here are some tips for managing patron expectations:
The following pointers are from the webinar "Mitigating microaggressions in virtual reference," presented by Marie Radford and Lynn Silipigni Connaway:
In addition to the best practices for chat interactions, here are a few tips specific to email interactions:
For more information on chat best practices: