Virtual reference is a vital component in twenty-first century reference service and the time for debate over its virtues and necessity has passed. This book focuses on the practical implementation of instant messaging (IM), including privacy and security and its future potential. Targeting busy practitioners who are looking for comprehensive answers about instant messaging in particular, rather than virtual reference in general, this book addresses questions from the basics of what IM is and how it operates to the more complicated issues such as privacy and security to its future potential as a strong candidate in the virtual reference arena.
Rachel Bridgewater is the Reference Co-ordinator at Washington State University Vancouver. In addition to co-ordinating reference services, Rachel teaches, develops and supports web applications, and serves as the library's copyright expert. Rachel is also part-time faculty in Emporia State University's School of Library and Information Science. Rachel frequently speaks about technology topics at local, national, and international conferences. In her talks, Rachel often addresses the impact of emerging technologies on culture, learning, and teaching. Meryl B. Cole is a reference librarian at Washington State University Vancouver. Her background in international teaching and curriculum development fuels and informs her interest in teaching in today's increasingly wired world. A firm believer that libraries need to promote their services as any other organization does, Meryl draws upon on her extensive experience in corporate communications to market library services to the community at large.