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ERIC Number: EJ1105544
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Jul
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0010-0870
"Are You a Computer?" Opening Exchanges in Virtual Reference Shape the Potential for Teaching
Dempsey, Paula R.
College & Research Libraries, v77 n4 p455-468 Jul 2016
Academic reference librarians frequently work with students who are not aware of their professional roles. In online interactions, a student might not even realize that the librarian is a person. The ways students initiate conversations reveal their understanding of the mutual roles involved in reference encounters. Conversation analysis of live chat transcripts at two institutions establishes the importance of opening exchanges to shape the potential for teaching. Chats that students open with relational cues (greeting, introduction, courtesy, verbal softeners) last longer than chats without these cues. Longer chats include more expressions of enthusiastic gratitude. The transcripts show evidence of successful strategies by librarians to shift chats from transactional openings to conversations with potential for engaged learning.
Association of College and Research Libraries. 50 East Huron Street, Chicago, IL 60611. e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A