- Even if you're conducting
research through Southern Miss libraries via the Internet,
a "live" librarian at the university will still
be at your service.
Southern Miss libraries now have a "real-time"
chat reference service, allowing Internet users to "talk"
with a librarian as they search a library database, the online
library catalog known as Anna or other Internet sources.
"With heavy use of electronic resources,
library users don't always know the best tool for the material
they are seeking," said Kay Wall, associate dean of libraries.
"By implementing online chat reference, all Southern Miss faculty,
staff and students regardless of location may
ask a librarian to assist them with research online."
The new chat service is also a convenient
way to receive answers to questions about e-reserves, interlibrary
loan, library hours and article delivery services. Users can
also have transcripts of the sessions e-mailed back to them
Wall said Southern Miss is the first public
university library in the state to use the service.
"The chat reference service could prove
to be an invaluable resource during those certain times of
need when a professional librarian's skills can help you overcome
a referential dead end," said Robby Nowell, a senior
majoring in geology who has used the new research tool. "The
service is also a benefit to the nontraditional student where
long commutes or long-distance phone calls are not a viable
For off-campus access, Internet service and
a Southern Miss identification card is required. Go to the
library Web site at www.lib.usm.edu,
click on the "Chat with Librarian" link under the
heading "Library Links." Then follow instructions
for software download. At that point, you will be asked to
enter your 10-digit identification number from your ID card
and from there, the "Ask A Librarian" call button
will appear on the upper right-hand corner of each library
Current hours for live reference are 2-9 p.m.
on Monday, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, except for university
holidays and semester breaks. For more information, contact
Southern Miss Library Information Services at (601) 266-4249
or on the Internet at AskUs@lib.usm.edu.