CHAT COMMUNICATION TIPS
Chatting with a librarian is not the same as a chat room, instead it is very similar to speaking face to face. It's one-to-one, informal, it's immediate and you can ask questions. However, there are some very significant differences that may get in the way of communication. Use the following tips to help make your experience with Chat with a Librarian more rewarding:
MAKE SURE YOUR BROWSER SETTINGS ARE CORRECT
WAIT YOUR TURN
There may be someone in the queue ahead of you. Please be patient.
Although chat is immediate two-way communication, it still does not flow as smoothly as spoken words. There may be long pauses while we type responses to your questions. Also please wait to use the links provided during the session until the chat session is completed. If you use the links during the chat session you will disconnect the session.
WHILE IN CHAT TYPE IN SHORT LINES
When you talk, your listeners hear your words as you say them. In chat there is no way of knowing that you are writing something until you hit send. By sending only 5-6 words at a time, you are creating the illusion of flowing conversation.
One problem with sending only 5-6 words at a time is that we will not know when you've finished your thought. Use an ellipsis (three periods, like this...) at the end of a line to indicate you have more to say. Use normal punctuation at the end of your thought.
It is difficult for most people to type fast without making mistakes. Be forgiving of errors in spelling or language.
LET US KNOW WHEN YOU LEAVE
When you want to end a session please tell us and end the Chat session by clicking close. Otherwise we keep going "Hello? Hello? Are you still there?"
WE CAN FOLLOW UP
If you give us your correct email address a transcript will be emailed to you. If we need to follow up or send you more information we will contact you using the email address that you provide.
IF YOU HAVE PROBLEMS
Use the Ask A Librarian e-mail function instead.
Ask a Librarian Home Page
The Library of Congress
December 11, 2003