Toward Sustaining Professional Development: Identification of Essential Chat Reference Competencies and Effective Training Techniques

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Chat reference is a reference conduit completely based on real-time electronic interaction. The fundamental principle stays the same across all reference services – assisting users in fulfilling their information needs. But when it comes to the process of how reference services are conducted, chat reference has set itself apart from email-based or face-to-face reference. The difference exists in so many aspects that general reference competencies need to be reexamined to ensure quality performance in chat reference services. A two-stage study was conducted to determine essential chat reference competencies and effective training techniques to deliver them. Findings from this study and how they could benefit the professional preparation for chat reference librarians will be discussed in the presentation.