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For Librarians: Digital Reference: What is Your Reference Librarian “Coffee-Name?”


Librarians and Libraries may look peaceful, but underneath all that quiet and deceptive-calm is a seething mass of email, chat, IM, and other reference Question-Answer activity that keeps us mighty busy.

But the big question, at least for some of us who participate in a lot of Digital Reference service (also called e-Reference), is how to identify oneself, that is, how to answer that dreaded question from utter strangers:


For some reference questions, and library patrons, it makes sense to use one’s real name and library employer. Some patrons need to get answers in-person, over the phone, and you can’t do that if you don’t tell them who and where you are.

But in other cases, a Librarian-Name, a Librarian-Avatar, a Coffee-Name, if you will, is in order. (Librarians can take a lot of abuse, in person and online.)

So, start thinking about your online digital reference “coffee-name.” It’s a harder task than you might think it would be, not unlike naming a baby 🙂

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