Research Help

Chat/Text Policy

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Chat/Text Policy for Ask the Library Service

  • About  

    Mabee Library Reference staff uses software to manage and provide online research and reference assistance to UIW students, faculty and staff. When using the Ask the Library service, users have the choice of text chat or online chat in addition to telephone and email options. 

  • Audience 

    Chat reference is typically limited to the UIW community e.g. students, faculty and staff. Issues such as business at the desk, time of semester and time of day will also determine whether or not the operator will redirect the chat patron. 

  • Hours 
    Chat service is available whenever the main reference desk is staffed. Users may also email a Subject Liaison Librarian directly for in-depth research help outside the chat service. 
  • Staffing

    The virtual reference service is staffed by experienced reference librarians and trained library assistants while on duty at the reference desk in Mabee Library. 

  • Service
    Reference Desk Staff strive to provide the same level of service to the UIW community whether the question is asked in person, over the phone, via email or via chat. Staff may determine, however, that the user might be better served with a more in-depth interaction or library instruction as needed.
  • Information Literacy 

    It is part of Mabee Library’s mission to develop user information literacy skills during the chat transaction if possible.  

    **Referrals and follow-ups are the discretion of the staff on duty. 

  • Behavior Rules & Etiquette 
    All users must comply with university policy on computer use, Appropriate Use of Information Resources. 
  • Chat Etiquette 
    • Be patient. Network traffic may affect response time. Questions will be answered as quickly as possible. For urgent questions, users are encouraged to call the Reference Desk directly.
    • Communicate in short sentences.
    • Reference questions will be answered in the order they are received.
    • Inappropriate behavior will not be tolerated. Common courtesies are expected and appreciated.
  • User Privacy
    We will not disclose any personal data collected from a patron to any other party in a manner that would identify the patron, except where required by law or in order to fulfill the service request.