Digital reference: What the past has taught us and what the future will hold

Alessia Zanin-Yost

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


By the end of the nineteenth century, the role of the librarian had expanded to include reference service, and it has been part of the profession since then. New technologies change the way we search for information and what we expect from reference service. With the introduction of the computer and the Internet, libraries expanded the role of reference beyond the use of the mail, telephone, or the fax machine. Today, librarians not only help patrons at the reference desk but also in cyberspace. This new type of service, called digital or virtual reference, is quite new, but has quickly become popular because of demands by patrons to access information anytime, anywhere. This paper discusses issues related to the use of digital/virtual reference in academic libraries in the U.S.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalLibrary Philosophy and Practice
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Philosophy
  • Library and Information Sciences


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