Policies for Chat & Email Reference

Who can use Ask A Librarian?

Ask a Librarian services are provided primarily for University of Arizona students, faculty, and staff; and for anyone who is connecting to the service from a computer on the University of Arizona campus. Other users are welcome to use Ask a Librarian for questions dealing specifically with information about the University of Arizona, as well as about the Library and its collections.

What kind of help is available from Ask A Librarian?

IM/Chat and email reference services are designed to handle questions typically asked at the reference desk, such as questions about finding information on a particular topic, journal citations, phone numbers, and definitions. We will provide up to three book titles or article citations about a topic and tell you how to find similar resources. 

Questions requiring in-depth knowledge of a subject or resource may be referred to an appropriate subject specialist, who will contact you directly. A referral may cause a slight delay in the response time. 

IM/Chat services depend heavily on online resources; during chat we are unable to consult print materials in other parts of the Library’s collections.

Response time for email reference queries is 48 hours, Monday through Friday, when the Main Library is open. Most questions will receive a response within 24 hours.

Help Ask A Librarian cannot provide

Though most requests submitted through our virtual reference services can be accommodated, there are a few things that cannot:

  • Verification of incomplete citations that require searching through paper copies of books or journals.

  • Requests for legal, medical, financial or tax advice.

  • Requests for genealogy or family history research.

Chat & Email Reference Privacy Policy

IM/Chat transcripts and email messages are retained for up to one month and then permanently deleted. All personal information (name, email address) is stripped from IM/Chat transcripts.

Last modified: April 7, 2014