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Virtual Reference Best Practices

Chat & Admin logon

Reference schedule link

Fall 2020

  • Tuesday & Thursday 1-2pm - All queues
  • Friday 10-11am - Michigan queue only



Research Help Now Intranet

Research Help Now Intranet

Research Help Now Training Manuals

See the Altarama RefChatter and RefTracker tabs for information on using the Altarama software.

Basic Steps to a Successful Virtual Reference Transaction

Wren Spengler, OCLC

1. Send hello message.
2. Read what the patron wrote.
3. Scroll through the "Patron Info" tab.
4. Click "Policies" link to open the Policy Page.
5. Ask the patron a question.
6. Send a resource (or paste specific information from Policy Page).
7. Ask the patron if the information is useful.
8. Repeat steps 5-7 until the patron is satisfied, or choose a follow up option.
9. Send a goodbye message.
10. Close session using the appropriate resolution code. 

24/7 Reference Cooperative Policies and Procedures


Chatting librarians should be willing to follow these steps and policies for ensuring a high-quality reference transaction.