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Canadian discussion lists
Canadian virtual reference services
Other discussion lists
Other virtual reference services

Canadian Discussion Lists

REFCAN-L is a electronic forum for discussing issues relating to the provision of reference and information services in Canadian libraries. It is meant to facilitate and encourage information exchange between those involved and interested in reference.

To subscribe to this list, simply send an email to: listserv@infoserv.nlc-bnc.ca In the body of the message, type the following command: SUBSCRIBE REFCAN-L Firstname Lastname (eg. SUBSCRIBE REFCAN-L John Smith)


The National Library of Canada has established a bilingual electronic discussion list to facilitate information exchange as well as professional communication and development within the Canadian library community.

CLA Listserv

This is an electronic forum where Canadian Library Association members can gather to work on common issues, to share opinions and to inform and influence CLA policy and programs.

Send "subscribe corpobibl" to: majordomo@uqac.ca

This list, sponsored by the Corporation of Professional Librarians of Quebec, discusses issues relating to the profession.

Send "subscribe ebsi-l Firstname Lastname" to: listproc@cc.umontreal.ca

Supported by the Université de Montréal's École de bibliothéconomie et des sciences de l'information, this French-language list discusses a variety of LIS-related topics.

To view a more detailed listing of Canadian library and information science discussion lists, please refer to the National Library of Canada's website at the following URL:

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Canadian virtual reference services

Global Librarian

Global Librarian is an international partnership formed by a group of public libraries in the English-speaking world. These libraries share a common vision: to maximize the Internet's potential for providing high-quality public library services to the library's community of users. Global Librarian provides Partners' communities with a professional reference service beyond the standard local library open hours.

Ontario Digital Library initiative

The Ontario Library Association is spearheading this initiative to provide easy public access to electronic information services in college, university, school, public and special libraries for all Ontario residents no matter where they live.

Ontario Collaborative Virtual Reference Project

The Ontario Collaborative Virtual Reference Project is a digital reference service offered jointly by three Ontario universities: Guelph, Ryerson and York Universities. The collaborative service was launched as a pilot project in October 2002 using LSSI's Virtual Reference Desk software. Staffing of the service is shared across participating universities; consequently calls may be picked up by library staff at Guelph, Ryerson or York.

Saskatchewan Libraries: ask Us!

"Need help finding information, identifying that book, or getting a quick fact? You can get assistance from your Saskatchewan public library."

Saskatchewan Virtual Reference Working Group

The mission of the project is to create an electronic reference system, cooperatively supported and developed by library staff throughout Saskatchewan, intended to provide real-time library services to the public.

Ask A Question!

The Ask A Question Virtual Reference Service provides digital reference service to Albertans in the public library sector as well as to registered students, faculty and staff of fifteen post-secondary institutions in the province. The service is provided collaboratively using software that was developed at Grant MacEwan College.

The Alberta Public Library Electronic Network (APLEN)

This provincial initiative, supported by The Alberta Library (TAL), has already achieved many of its goals of connecting Alberta's public libraries through an electronic network facilitating resource sharing.

The University of Alberta
The University of Alberta Libraries Chat Reference Service (www.library.ualberta.ca/ereference/codeverifier/index.cfm) began as a pilot project in 2001. Using 24/7 Reference software, the service is now staffed for 67 hours a week from September to April and for limited hours during the summer. During the 2002-03 academic year, the U of A and the University of New Brunswick are working together in a collaborative effort to share weekend service (www.lib.unb.ca/disted/LIVE/index.html). Staff at the University of Alberta Libraries also answer email questions routed to the appropriate unit library from the following web form: http://www.library.ualberta.ca/ereference/email/index.cfm. Email questions are answered in two working days or less.

UNB / U of Alberta Online Reference Collaborative Project

LIVE teams up staff from UNB and the University of Alberta Libraries V-Ref online reference service to provide collaborative service to users at both institutions.


Info-Biblio is a reference service whose mandate is to answer questions that the targetted population may have on various subjects such as health matters, business world, government, agriculture, news stories, etc.

CREPUQ - Conférence des recteurs et des principaux des universités du Québec
"Le service de référence dans le contexte de la bibliothèque du XXIe siècle : Pour une approche interactive dans un espace virtuel"

CREPUQ is a private organization that unites, on a volunteer basis, many of Quebec's universities. Its working group on virtual library services has produced this discussion document. In French only.

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Other discussion lists


Supported by the Virtual Reference Desk, DIG_REF is a forum for the growing number of people and organizations answering patron questions via the Internet. This list discusses a wealth of issues related to digital reference.


A discussion group for librarians and information professionals devoted to discussing topics related to the delivery of live reference services.


This list for librarians, information scientists and other information professionals shares information about the many issues and technologies surrounding the creation of digital libraries.

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Other virtual reference services


QuestionPoint is a collaborative reference service the Library of Congress and OCLC (Online Computer Library Center) worked together to develop, with input from participating members of the Global Reference Network (a group of libraries and institutions worldwide that are committed to digital reference). It was lauched in June 2002.

VRD - The Virtual Reference Desk

The Virtual Reference Desk (VRD) is a project dedicated to the advancement of digital reference and the successful creation and operation of human-mediated, Internet-based information services.

IPL - The Internet Public Library

The Internet Public Library (IPL) is a public service organization and educational initiative developed by the University of Michigan School of Information. Its goal is to provide library services to Internet users while using a learn-by-doing approach to train information professionals and students to work in an increasingly digital environment.

AskNow! Online answers Autralia-wide

National, State and Territory libraries in Australia have joined forces to provide an innovative service for all Australians - AskNow! - Australia's first collaborative reference service.

AskNow! is a pilot initiative of the Council of Australian State Libraries (CASL).