|dc.description.abstract||The University of Kansas implemented an "Ask a Librarian" email reference service in February 2002. With the arrival of our new dean, we were given a mandate to expand the existing email reference service to include a "live help" component. In reviewing different software packages, we were asked to consider other services that were being used or could be used locally (on campus), regionally (in the State of Kansas) or nationally where collaboration would be possible. This gave us the opportunity to move beyond traditional library information services to look for potential applications.
The timing was certainly appropriate for the implementation of a live reference service at the University of Kansas Libraries for a number of reasons. The Kansas State Library was about to start a state-wide collaborative chat service (KANAnswer) in January 2003, responsibility for the University of Kansas KUINFO (a student services information telephone line) was transferred to the library administration, the main library service areas were being reconfigured into an information commons area and the Vice-Provost for Information Services had completed a strategic planning document supporting a vision of providing an integrated and cooperative service for the university community’s information needs. The convergence of all these factors led us to select a product that would have the capability to accommodate a variety of the university’s information needs.||