Buzz about instant messaging (IM) customer service is becoming louder, both inside and outside the library field. In general, librarian opinions of IM are mixed and at times even combative. A survey was distributed to gather librarians' opinions of the usefulness of IM as compared to its feature-rich yet difficulty-prone sibling, commercial chat. Through detailed statistical analysis, this article provides an overview of trends in and opinions of IM reference, and offers analysis of its present and future in libraries.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/sarah_steiner/7/