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Virtual Reference in the Age of Pop-Up Blockers, Firewalls, and Service Pack 2

Sunday, January 1, 2006

Abstract

"Real-time virtual reference (VR) has been around for several years. Although it has become standard in our libraries and widely discussed in the professional literature, the evidence indicates that libraries are not satisfied with the service. Usage statistics have been disappointing; frustration levels with the technology remain high. Not surprisingly, much of the recent literature has focused on the "Why don't they come?" question. By all accounts, VR should be an increasingly popular service: We know that young people love to chat and that many universities and colleges cater to a growing number of distance and off-campus users—the perfect audience for VR. Various theories have been proposed as to why usage statistics are so low. Most focus on marketing and user behavior. Relatively little has been written about how technical problems impact VR services."

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