Academic libraries are experiencing a gradual decline in the number of reference transactions. In a recent compilation of statistics for members of the Association of Research Libraries, for example, the median numbers of reference transactions reported fell from 134,944 in 1998 to 66,300 in 2005, an average drop of 4.6% per year (Kyrillidou and Young 2006). Traditional reference transactions still greatly outnumber virtual transactions in most libraries, but there is some speculation that virtual reference will overtake traditional reference in the near future. In an attempt to establish a baseline for the availability of virtual reference services in Southeastern academic libraries, the authors browsed the web sites for 1,126 academic libraries and recorded the locations of links to AskALibrarian services, chat reference, and instant messaging during the Summer and Fall of 2006. The results are a snapshot of virtual reference in the region.
DeHart, David L. and Viles, Ann
"Virtual Reference Service in Southeastern Academic Libraries: A Study of Availability,"
The Southeastern Librarian:
1, Article 7.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.kennesaw.edu/seln/vol55/iss1/7