"It’s Research Made Easier!" SMS & Chat Reference Perceptions
Purpose - To discover how college students perceive text messaging reference (SMS), chat reference, and face-to-face reference services.
Design/methodology/approach - The authors administered surveys about chat, text messaging (SMS), and face-to-face reference to students enrolled in a one-credit library skills course. Survey results focus on users’ willingness to return, their perceptions of chat and text messaging (SMS) reference, and the reasons they choose to utilize different communication mediums for reference service.
Findings - College students value the availability of high-quality, quick, convenient, personalized reference assistance, regardless of medium used.
Practical implications - Academic libraries can personalize reference services, but need to also offer ways for patrons to ask questions anonymously.
Originality/value - This study aims to contribute to reference services research by bringing new technology (SMS) into consideration. It focuses on two technologies (chat and SMS reference) in light of another available method (in-person reference desk). In addition, this is the first study to compare and contrast patron perceptions of SMS reference service to chat and face-to-face reference services.
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