NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1066588
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-May
Pages: 53
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0010-0870
A Usability Evaluation of Academic Virtual Reference Services
Chow, Anthony S.; Croxton, Rebecca A.
College & Research Libraries, v75 n3 p309-361 May 2014
This study examined the usability of five virtual reference services--instant messenger chat, e-mail, telephone, text messaging, and Skype videoconferencing--by having 31 undergraduate and graduate students evaluate the usability of the virtual reference services of two different universities. The study's results suggest that user preference and satisfaction for virtual reference service are highly correlated with the service's overall usability in terms of effectiveness and efficiency. Online chat was rated highest across all measures including satisfaction and seven different usability factors. Major implications of the study suggest that online chat is the virtual reference of choice for university students and that usability metrics are a good predictor of user preferences centered on high return on investment, speed of transaction, convenience, and minimal effort.
Association of College and Research Libraries. 50 East Huron Street, Chicago, IL 60611. e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A