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December 28, 2006

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Andy Havens

[flack on] On this topic, I must full-on pimp for a service that comes from my day-gig-co (OCLC), and that's Question Point 24/7.

http://www.oclc.org/questionpoint/

Librarians have been providing "social answers" forever, and are now doing it in the age of electronic communications -- starting with phones, and working up through sophisticated systems of databases, email, IM and shared-browsing sessions. We call it "virtual reference."

If your library subscribes to QP (or another, similar system), your librarians may be sharing various virtual reference tasks among a reference cooperative in order to help users while minimizing costs. They may be tapping into a local or global database of answers to previously asked questions. They may be using special software designed to help solve the kinds of problems that folks typically come to libraries to answer. All kinds of cool info-seeking stuff.

QP just logged its 2 millionth question a month or so ago, btw. [/flack off]

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