Their article, The use of electronic mail at the reference desk: impact of a computer-mediated communication technology on librarian-client interactions, explores the impact of reference department electronic mail services on librarian-client relationships. Also discussed in the article are issues including the maintenance and monitoring of reference electronic mail systems, the types of questions that are typically posted, and potential barriers to the implementation and use of reference e-mail.
As many of you know, the Alumni Medical Library implemented its own Ask-A-Librarian e-mail service, Refquest, in 1996. In addition to contacting reference staff via the traditional in-person or telephone consultation, Refquest allows library patrons to send questions and inquiries directly to the library's reference desk 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Reference questions and general inquiries can be sent to Refquest at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Schilling Eccles, K and Harzbecker, JJ Jr.
The use of electronic mail at the reference desk: impact of a computer-mediated communication technology on librarian-client interactions.
Medical Reference Services Quarterly 1998 Winter;17(4):17-27.