Purpose The purpose of this paper is to report on a project to implement a virtual reference service for the Library Consortium of New Zealand LCoNZ.Designmethodologyapproach The process of choosing the most appropriate software and implementing the service are outlined and discussed in the context of recent findings about similar services in academic libraries.Findings Because of the rapid development in social networking software and use, open source software is chosen as the most appropriate option. The overarching principle need to include a focus on enhancing the learning experience.Practical implications The lead library is able to implement the service at two sites initially, with a minimum of systems support. Improvements to the software are already planned. The main shift for the library is in how the service needs to flex to accommodate customer expectations and needs.Originalityvalue This paper examines the implementation of an instant messaging reference service in the context of online learning and student learning experience. It discusses reasons why university libraries need to keep forging online opportunities for meeting their customers' needs.
Library Hi Tech – Emerald Publishing
Published: Sep 4, 2009
Keywords: Reference services; Social networks; University libraries