New Article: Greenberg and Bar-Ilan, Comparing Virtual Reference Services in an Israeli Academic Library

Greenberg, Riki and Judit Bar-Ilan, “‘Ask a Librarian’: Comparing Virtual Reference Services in an Israeli Academic Library.” Library & Information Science Research 37.2 (2015): 139-46.



This study considered two Web-based virtual reference services (VRS) at an academic library in Israel: chat (116 interactions) and email (213 exchanges). The contents of a set of questions and answers in both VRS services were analyzed, along with an open-ended questionnaire administered to the library’s reference team (n = 16). Differences were found in the question and answer distributions. Face-to-face reference is preferred by the librarians although they acknowledge that the best fitting service is dependent on the users’ preferences and their information needs.