Chat with a Librarian Frequently Asked Questions

Who may use the Chat with a Librarian service?

This service is intended for the students, faculty and staff of Concordia University. Callers may be asked to clarify their affiliation to Concordia at the outset of a chat session.

We respond to questions from non-affiliated users when they deal specifically with the collections of the Concordia Library.

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When is the Chat with a Librarian service available?

See the Chat with a Librarian service hours. When the service is closed, you can send a question to our E-Mail Reference service.

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Are there any special browser or software requirements?

All you need to Chat with a Librarian is a computer with an Internet connection and a web browser.

Some troubleshooting tips if this service is not working optimally:

If you are using a pop-up blocker, consider turning it off during the chat session as it may interfere with some aspects of the chat service.
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How does Chat with a Librarian work?

You are placed in a queue when you launch your chat request. Please be patient as it may take a few minutes before you receive a response, especially if the librarian is working with another caller. Besides your name and e-mail address, you may be asked to provide additional information that could help the librarian better respond to your question, such as:

  • Department or program of study
  • Graduate or undergraduate status
  • Whether you are using a computer inside the library
  • What resources you have already consulted

The librarian may also ask whether you are willing to be contacted by phone during the chat session. Sometimes a phone call may be a more effective means of assisting you. In keeping with library policy, all information is considered confidential and is accessible only to designated library staff.

As you chat, keep in mind that it may take a few minutes for the librarian to respond. The librarian may need time to assess your question, locate online sources, and compose a response. While you wait, you can continue to use other programs on your computer or use another browser window connected to the Internet. If you wish to end the chat session, please let the librarian know before you click on Exit.

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What are chat transcripts?

As you chat, a transcript of the session is recorded. At the end of the session, you will be prompted for your email address. If you would like a copy of the transcript, enter your address. The transcript provides links to web sites and online resources viewed during the chat session. It serves as a reminder of how to access the online sources you viewed during the chat session.

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What kind of help is available through Chat with a Librarian?

You will receive guidance on how to search the Sofia Discovery tool, online databases and other electronic resources.

You can expect help on learning how to utilize online resources. For example, if you were looking for a list of companies operating in a particular sector or geographic area, the librarian would help you find an appropriate source but would not actually provide the list of companies. In addition, where information about library procedures or services is readily available on our web site, the librarian will direct you there.

You can assist the librarian by providing background information, explaining the context of your question, and indicating where you have already looked for answers. We prefer to focus on one question at a time in order to fully explore the sources that can be used to provide an answer. Questions that cannot be answered during the chat session can be followed up with an e-mail or phone call if you agree.

To resolve any problems with your library account, such as checkouts, fines, etc., contact the Library's Circulation Services. Please note that the librarian does not have access to your library account. The librarian on chat cannot place holds, nor borrow or renew books for you.

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How is caller privacy protected?

All information exchanged during a chat session is considered confidential. The Chat with a Librarian service respects patron privacy by restricting access to chat transcripts to authorized library staff.

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How is copyright protected?

In the course of a chat session, the librarian may share web pages and electronic documents with you. Documents covered by licence agreements, such as those found in proprietary databases, are for private research use only. Please respect copyright.

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