talk: adventures in virtual reference

I went out to Oregon to give a talk to the people who staff L-net, the 24/7 virtual reference service for the state of Oregon. They have a yearly conference which is a lot of fun. Video from the talks will be available at some point, but I figured I’d link to my talk now. I talked about Ask MetaFilter and a little bit about what we do there and how it is and is not like other forms of virtual reference. Lots of stats. Lots of anecdotes and sample questions. The Slideshare version doesn’t seem to have the notes attached and functional (attached yes, accurate, no), so while I hammer that out from them, you can also go to the talk’s page on and download whichever version you want. Thanks to all who attended on Friday.

new Q&A site for librarians? What about the old site?

A few folks have been buzzing about the proposal over on Stack Exchange to build a stack overflow-type site for library Q&A stuff. I was wondering about this, since we already have Unshelved Answers. A little Googling and I figured out that the software they’re using won’t be available to them after 4/11 [irony!], so they’re trying to get people together to support a hosted model. Go vote!

where else besides the library can I ask a question online?

Brian has a few suggestions for other places to go online to ask questions or read other people’s answers. As you probably know, I work for Ask MetaFilter and I’m pretty happy with how it all works out, getting people answers to their questions. I’ve asked thirty questions there myself. Here’s a screenshot of what I think is a pretty usual list of questions.