General Expectations for Managing Reference Interactions
- Digital reference services provide assistance by email or chat to University of Minnesota students, faculty, and staff; researchers from other institutions; University of Minnesota alumni; and external patrons trying to locate information specific to our collections.
- In general, we do not do people's research for them, rather, we help users get started with their research and teach them to find and utilize library resources and collections. Exceptions may be made on a limited basis as staffing allows and in exceptional circumstances. Some exceptional circumstances might include helping a patron determine whether it is worth their time to travel to the University to do their research (especially when traveling great distances), to help a patron utilize special collections, and to help a patron with unique and local materials within our collections. Other exceptional circumstances may be determined and noted at each service point.
- In general chat sessions are meant to answer short, straight forward questions. For tricky or overly long chat questions (more than 15 minutes), determine if it might be best to follow up more quickly via phone or referring patrons to a reference desk. E-mail follow-ups for more in-depth questions may be appropriate as well.
the person you are with first - online or in-person. If you are busy
with an online chat session, make eye contact with those approaching the
desk and explain that you are helping someone else right now and will
be with them ASAP. Get the first person started, explain that
you need to get another person started and help the 2nd person, etc. If
other desks are open, a chat question could be handed off (if it is a
baseline question that anyone might be able to answer) or if the chat
session has already gone on beyond the recommended time frame (~15
minutes), you can make a referral to a visit in-person to a reference
desk or follow-up later via e-mail.
- If not working with another patron, answer chat and e-mail questions as they arrive. If busy with a patron, allow another desk or the national queue to address chat interactions.
- Answer/process/refer email questions while at the desk and not working on in-person or chat reference questions. This takes priority over other work you may bring to the desk. Make sure that all e-mail questions receive a response, even if it is just a note indicating that we are working on their question, within 24 hours.
- Follow documented e-mail reference procedures to claim e-mail questions in order to avoid duplication of effort.
- Enter all interactions (chat and e-mail too) into DeskTracker. Each interaction with a patron in QuestionPoint is a separate interaction and requires a separate DeskTracker entry.
TrackBack URL: http://blog.lib.umn.edu/cgi-bin/mt-tb.cgi/123233