Yet More Virtual Reference at ALA

Stephen Coffman coffmanfyi at
Thu Jun 14 19:17:01 EDT 2001

Yet More Virtual Reference at ALA.

Just when you thought it was safe to back on the listserves . . . 

Here are a few additional things you all should know about that did not get included in the original schedule.    


************ ADDITIONAL EXHIBITS ********************************

First, please add the following exhibits to your schedule.  

Library Solutions Institute and Press, Booth #4243,  will showcase the first and only hands-on virtual reference training manual, “Establishing a Virtual Reference Service” by... Anne Lipow and Steve Coffman, described at  Of course, Anne also features many other Internet-related titles that will be of interest to virtual reference librarians of all stripes.  

Information Institute of Syracuse, Booth # 1323. The great group of people at Syracuse have been at the forefront of virtual reference for a long time now.  Stop by their exhibit and pick up a hot-off-the-press brochure to the VRD (Virtual Reference Desk) 2001 Conference.  You will also be able to get at look at the VRD Incubator software, which is free to non-profit organizations.  The projects at the Information Institute booth are the Virtual Reference Desk, AskERIC, the ERIC Clearinghouse on Information & Technology, and GEM (Gateway to Educational Materials). Please stop by and identify yourself as a Dig_Ref member. 

Docutek, Booth # 1824.  They are demonstating a new product called the Virtual Reference Librarian that features chat, page pushing, session logs, and a variety of other features.   It is part of a product called Docutek onCampus suite, which also includes modules for electronic document delivery, and for faxing documents directly into electronic reserves.

************ ADDITIONAL PROGRAMS ********************************

Saturday June 16th

1:00pm to 2:30pm  “The Chat Reference Service Experience at Carnegie Mellon University."  This will be poster session number II-3.  Poster Session area at the Moscone Exhibit Hall.

Matt Marsteller and Paul Neuhaus will present a poster session on live reference service at Carnegie Mellon University.  Carnegie Mellon began its chat reference service on October 1, 2000.  The service utilizes commercial off-the-shelf software called LivePerson.  Service evaluation features of the software provide interesting data to share with the greater library community.  Summary statistics of the service, logs of actual chat sessions and cumulative results of post chat surveys (filled out by the chat patrons on a voluntary basis) will be presented.  Plans for future enhancement of the chat reference service that are independent of the software used will be discussed.  Both Matt and Paul look forward to seeing you all there.   

Sunday, June 17th 

2:00 to 4:00pm  Privacy and User Profiles at ALA.  This is one part of the program “Sex, Privacy, and the Single Librarian: Ethical Dilemmas They Didn't Tell Us About in Library School." Presented by the ALA Committtee on Professional Ethics Westin St. Francis - California East/West 

One portion of this interesting program will deal with privacy and user profiles in live Web reference software.   Marc Meola will present “I Know Who You Are”  which deals with the customer profiling capabilities of some digital reference services.  A patron submits some medical questions to a digital reference service in a library. The library has a contract with a vendor who has agreed to keep patron information confidential. But something goes wrong. Find out what happens and then offer your opinions on our professional ethics and responsibilities.

************ LIVE FROM SF ********************************

And here is the complete schedule of the online / onsite LIVE FROM SF programs at ALA 
Join these online at and click on Live From SF, and then the program you want to attend, or attend in person at the LSSI Exhibit #3245 in the Moscone Convention Center.

KAREN SCHNEIDER AND THE CIPA.   Saturday 10:30 to 11:00 am PDT  Karen Schneider Live from SF ... "Top Ten CIPA Facts” Online at and click on Live from SF or on-site at LSSI Booth #3245.

Karen Schneider will do a live online presentation on the "Top Ten CIPA Facts” what public libraries and consortia need to now KNOW about the Children's Internet Protection Act for effective decision-making in the year ahead. The First Amendment you save could be your own! You can either logon and catch Karen's presentation online by going to and following the links to Live from SF, or come by and see her do the presentation in person at the LSSI’s Exhibit Booth #3245.


CDRS INTERACTIVE SESSION 1.  Saturday 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm  PDT (This session will repeat 3:30-5:30) "What Is It Worth to You” Holiday Inn Financial District, 750 Kearny Street, 3rd Floor: Chinese Culture Center or go to and click on CDRS Interactive Sessions if you will be attending online. 

These participatory sessions are sponsored by CDRS, the Library of Congress, LSSI Virtual Reference Services and OCLC, and will give you an opportunity to express your opinions on key issues concerning the Collaborative Digital Reference Service using live real-time audience survey technology. Simultaneous sessions will be conducted online using LSSI's Virtual Reference Service and Cogix Internet polling software and onsite using real-time audience survey technology.


CDRS INTERACTIVE SESSION 2.  Saturday 3:30 - 5:30pm PDT (repeat of CDRS Interactive Session I, see above)


CHRIS ZAGAR AND AUTHENTICATING PATRONS IN VIRTUAL REFERENCE.  Sunday 12:00 noon to 12:30 pm. PDT Live from SF “Authenticating Patrons in Virtual Reference” a live global broadcast with Chris Zagar, founder of EZProxy. Join us online at and on-site at LSSI Booth #3245.

Chris Zagar, developer of EZProxy, one of the most respected and well-known Web authentication software packages used in libraries, will discuss techniques for authenticating patrons in virtual reference sessions. Chris will cover both techniques for authenticating patrons as they come into virtual reference systems, and then strategies for co-browsing databases that use IP authentication. Come by LSSI’s exhibit at Booth #3245 to see Chris live, or join us online at and click on Live from SF, then select this session to login.


BERNIE SLOAN ON THE FUTURE OF VIRTUAL REFERENCE.  Sunday 2:00 to 3:00 pm. PDT  Live From SF. “The Future of Virtual Reference with Bernie Sloan” Join us online at and on-site at LSSI Booth #3245.

You’ve all seen some of the discussion on the future of virtual reference on the livereference and digi-ref listserves recently; now here’s your chance to exchange your ideas live and online. The indefatigable Bernie Sloan – who will be live from Illinois - will start with a brief opening presentation highlighting some of the key issues facing virtual reference and will then open up this online meeting to discussion from everybody logged on. You can join this meeting live and online, by going to the LSSI Web site at and clicking on Live From SF; or stop by the LSSI Exhibit at Booth #3245 and watch the proceedings live or join in on our computers

************ SEE YOU THERE ********************************

To see and/or print an updated version of the entire schedule, please see LSSI's Virtul Reference Web site at  

Have a great weekend everybody . . . and remember, if you are looking for a details on a program, the city, or anything else conference-related, be sure to check out QandACafe Conference Concierge at and click on Housing and Travel, and then on the Concierge.  It’s free, and it’s there for you to use, live and online 24 hour per day, 7 days a week.  



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