In response to the extensive availability of digital library resources and the rising number of remote users, many libraries now offer digital reference services through e-mail and chat. The growing use of interactive chat software with its real time interactive capability has prompted librarians to consider collaborative ways in which to offer this service. A concern expressed frequently in informal discussions of such collaborations is how difficult it would be for the staff at one library to answer questions for another, considering that many questions tend to be “local”. Intrigued by the perception of “local,” librarians at the University of Tennessee (UT) in Knoxville undertook a study of digital reference questions received through chat and e-mail to determine the percentage of questions requiring on-site handling.

Publication Date

Fall 2003