ABSTRACT

In 2001 I published an article on evaluating electronic reference1 in which I noted the scarcity of research devoted to electronic reference, and the subsequent lack of standards for evaluating such services. As libraries scrambled to establish new virtual reference points, no consensus had emerged regarding how to evaluate these new services, either from a methodological, efficiency, or a quality perspective. If at that time the evaluation of e-reference was in its infancy, it would be fair to characterize the current environment as the “adolescent phase.” Like a gawky teenager, the field is growing in unexpected ways, and is finding its voice, albeit not yet a fully mature one.