Thursday, October 14, 2010

Virtual Reference Question of the Week

As I have mentioned before, my library system also provides a virtual reference service that our branches take turns manning, which provides email and chat assistance. Unfortunately 95% of its users are using it incorrectly as they are either asking account questions (it says in bold that account and fee questions will not be answered in the service), or questions for services that we don't provide (such as emailing them pdf's of newspaper back editions). It looks like nobody takes time to read the virtual ref FAQ, which explains what the service is for -- ready reference questions, database assistance, readers' advisory, ebook help, etc.
That's why when we get questions in our virtual reference email I just want to smack someone:

Message Subject: Help!
Hello. I need to log into my own account at aol.

I responded, I'm not sure what you mean, could you clarify? and, of course, the email address bounced.


  1. That's awesome. One time on our E-help service, someone asked what the best way was to get rid of a wild chicken that was on their lawn.

    I can't make that shit up.

  2. Yes, we can't make this shit up. That is what I am always telling my friends, family, and other non-believers.

  3. Yes they should be smacked.Oy vey

  4. I help with a VR service for school kids - and there are some wonderful questions out there...
    How do I log off the new facebook (when it 'upgraded')... or - direct quote:
    How would u compare the Gingis Khan 2 Winston Churchill's leadership - from an 11 year old.